Terms to Know
Fertility is complicated, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to be left in the dark. Here are some of the most common terms you may hear throughout your journey to parenthood.
A blastocyst is an embryo that has developed for approximately five days after fertilization. At this point, the embryo has two different cell types and a central cavity. The surface cells (trophectoderm) will become the placenta, and the inner cell mass will become the fetus.
Cryopreservation is a technique that uses extremely low temperatures to preserve live tissue in storage for long periods of time. Cells are partially dehydrated and rapidly brought to a temperature at which all cellular metabolic reactions cease. Upon thawing, cells are rehydrated and brought back to body temperature.
Egg retrieval is a procedure used to obtain eggs directly from ovarian follicles for use in IVF (In vitro fertilization). With the patient sedated and comfortable, the eggs are retrieved through the vagina under ultrasound guidance.
An embryo is an early-stage development of a multi-cellular organism. An egg and sperm unit to become a single-celled organism called a zygote. This zygote then becomes a multicellular embryo through cell division.
Endometriosis is a condition in which the lining of the uterus migrates to other regions of the body, usually in the pelvic region, causing scarring and sometimes damaging the fallopian tubes and ovaries. Endometriosis can cause infertility in women.
Embryo Transfer (ET)
An ET is a procedure by which the embryo (usually aged 3 to 5 days) is placed into the uterus.
A hysterosalpingogram (HSG) is an x-ray procedure that allows a physician to view the size and shape of the inside of the uterus and fallopian tubes. It is also known as the tubal dye test.
A hysteroscopy is a procedure that permits a physician to view the uterine cavity through the cervix. It allows for the diagnosis of intrauterine pathology and serves as a method for surgical intervention.
Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is a micromanipulation procedure whereby a single sperm is captured in a thin glass needle and injected directly into the egg. This procedure allows fertilization to be possible even with just one sperm.
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a type of artificial insemination in which washed semen is injected into the uterus using a catheter.
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a process by which eggs are harvested from the ovaries and mixed with sperm outside of the body. Fertilized eggs, or embryos, can be cultured for up to 6 days in the laboratory. At that point, embryos or blastocysts are transferred to the uterus.
Laparoscopy is a surgical procedure performed under a general anesthetic in the abdomen or pelvis through small incisions (usually 0.5–1.5 cm) with the aid of a camera. It can be used to inspect and diagnose a condition or to perform surgery.
Preimplantation Genetic Testing
Preimplantation genetic testing refers to the genetic profiling of embryos prior to implantation (as a form of embryo profiling). PGT can be used to detect abnormalities of both chromosome number and/or specific gene content.
Semen Analysis (SA)
A laboratory test used to assess semen quality: sperm quantity, concentration, morphology (form), and motility