Dictionary of Insemination Terms

see Artificial Insemination
American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM)
(formerly the American Fertility Society or AFS) Large, multidisciplinary organization that educates on and advocates for fertility and reproductive medical issues.
ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology)
Assisted Reproductive Technology, group of therapies that manipulate the egg and/or sperm and/or early conception in order to establish a sustainable pregnancy. These procedures all stem from the basic IVF process.
Artificial Insemination
When sperm is placed in the vagina or uterus by means other then by intercourse.
Artificial Insemination Surrogacy (AI or TS, Traditional Surrogate)
When a surrogate mother is chosen to become pregnant by being inseminated with sperm in an effort to achieve pregnancy. After the birth the surrogate mother relinquishes all parental rights and the child is given to the person(s) whom she carried the child for.
Removal of fluid and cells by suction through a needle.
Basal Body Temperature (BBT)
Each morning for a minimum of two months, a woman takes her temperature before getting out of bed. The temperature is charted each day to help track her menstrual cycle to decipher when ovulation takes place. BBT is the lowest tempurature the woman will experience during her waking hours. A slight rise is detected immediately after ovulation occurs.
Beta Testing Centrifuge
Medical high-speed spinning device used during the processing and washing of sperm for use in Artificial Insemination or assisted reproductive technique cycles. The process separates the sperm from the semen using centrifugal force.
The embryotic stage of deveopment where cells become specialized to form placental cells and the embyo itself.
A process the sperm must undergo that enables fertilization.
Cervical Mucus
The secretion of the cervix which changes in volume and consistency throughout the menstrual cycle as a reflection of hormonal stimulation. When the time of ovulation draws near the fluid becomes thick in order to aid the sperms mobility and vitality in the vagina.
The lower section of the uterus which protrudes into the vagina and serves as a reservoir for sperm.
Chemical Pregnancy
A positive pregnancy test, but no ultrasound confirmation or documentation of a pregnancy.
Clinical Pregnancy
A pregnancy in which the beating fetal heart has been identified by ultrasound.
Clomiphine Citrate (Clomid) (Serophene)
Oral medication used to induce ovulation; the initial dosage is 50 mg (1 tablet) daily for 5 days on day 3-7 of a woman’s cycle. The dosage can be increased if needed. This drug suppresses the amount of naturally circulating estrogen and causes the pituitary gland into producing more follicular stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). Doctors may manage their patients by testing a patients LH levels through a urine test on a daily basis. When an LH surge is detected most patients are examined by a transvaginal ultrasound to determine status of ovaries. Chlomid is considered to be about 70% effective in women with no other fertility concerns.The anti-estrogenic effect of the Chlomid can cause fertile mucus to be hostile towards semen in some patients. This drug is not recommended for those with liver disease or those with ovarian cysts. This drug may have negative effects on a fetus so it is critical to assure the patient is not already pregnant. Some women experience blurred vision or dizziness especially under conditions of variable lighting when on this medication. Most common side effects are ovarian cysts and ovarian enlargement. Some women report feeling a throbbing sensation in the ovaries near the time they are expected to ovulate as well as hot flashes, insomnia and irritability. This drug does increase the chances of a multiple pregnancy, about a 6% chance of conceiving twins.
Occurs when a sperm impregnates a woman’s egg.
Corpus Luteum
A special gland that forms on the surface of the ovary at the site of ovulation. It produces progesterone during the second half of the cycle which is necessary to prepare the uterine lining for implantation.
Crinone Progesterone Vaginal Gel
A new drug, this is a form a progesterone taken vaginally for patients to use as a supplement during ART cycles and into early pregnancy. This is gel used as a substitute to for intramuscular injections of progesterone which are the standard for IVF cycles. While there have been suppositories available in the past this form’s appeal is that it is less messy and easier to use. The gel provides better adhesion to the vagina and improved absorption into the uterus. This drug is administered in single-use applicators. It is usually used once daily at bedtime. Egg donation recipients tend to be prescribed it’s application twice a day. IVF patients in Europe have reported high levels of success with the medication.
A place where tissues such as sperm, oocytes, embryos, etc. are stored and preserved by freezing untill they are needed and then they are defrosted.
The storage of embryos or gametes produced during an assisted reproductive technique cycle deeply frozen to be thawed and used later, in future cycles by a woman (20-30% do not survive the process).
Diethylstilbestrol (a synthetic estrogen), a medication that is used to treat problems with menstruation, symptoms of breast cancer and menopause and to stop milk production. Previously used to prevent preterm labor and miscarriage.
Direct Oocyte-Sperm Transfer
see Estradiol
Ectopic Pregnancy
When a fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus (usually in the Fallopian tube). Pregnancy must be removed to save tube and/or prevent hemorrhaging. This can be fatal and arequires immediate medical attention.
Egg Donor (ED)
A woman who undergoes surgical procedures in order to have her eggs removed, the eggs are later implanted in another woman’s uterus.
This term is used to describe the early stages of fetal growth from conception to the eighth week of pregnancy.
Embryo Adoption
The implantation of an embryo into an unrelated woman.
A person specially trained to work with embryos and gametes.
The study of hormones, their function, the organs that produce them and how they are produced.
Endometrial Biopsy
A sample of uterine tissue is taken and examined to show evidence of ovulation or to diagnose hormonal levels to judge reproductive health.
The presence of endometrial tissue (tissue that normally lines the uterus) in abnormal locations such as the ovaries, Fallopian tubes and abdominal cavity.
Membrane lining a woman’s uterus that is shed during menstruation.
Hormone released by developing follicles in the ovary that can be measured during ART cycles.
Female hormones that are responsible for the development of secondary sexual characteristics.
Fallopian Tube
A thin tube the carries an egg from the ovary to the uterus after fertilization takes place.
The penetration of an egg by a sperm.
Fertile Mucus
Cervical fluid that significantly thickens around the time a woman ovulates.
A highly purified follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) that can be administered via subcutaneous injection (just under the skin) to promote ovuation.
The finger like extensions from the end of the Fallopian tube that aid in gathering the oocyte at ovulation.
Fluid-filled sac in the ovary that nurtures ripening eggs and releases one during ovulation.
Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH)
Hormone produced and released from the pituitary gland that helps an egg to mature and be released.
Brand name of FSH hormone that stimulates follicle growth.
Follicle Stimulating Hormone
The male or female reproductive cells, the sperm or the egg.
Gamete Intra-Fallopian Tube Transfer (GIFT)
A method of assisted fertilization that involves surgically removing an egg from the ovary, combining it with sperm, and immediately placing the egg and sperm into the Fallopian tube. Fertilization takes place inside the Fallopian tube.
Primarily consists of DNA and proteins and define hereditary characteristics.
Genetic Counseling
When a trained professional is used to assist in gathering and interpreting pertinent information about the chances of bearing a child with a genetic disorder.
Time period of fetal development in the uterus from conception to birth.
Hormone that stimulates the ovary to produce eggs.
Gonal-F or Follistim Gonadotropins
New forms of gonadotropins are now available to be used for ovulation induction for women who don’t ovulate on their own, women who need multiple eggs with insemination, and IVF/GIFT cycles. Advantages of this medication are that it is a purer form of FSH with a more predictable bioeffect.
Hostile Mucus
Cervical mucus that does not offer favorable conditions to aid sperm in their travels through the cervical canal.
Hysterosalpingogram (HSG)
A procedure that uses x-rays to examine the shape and size of a woman’s reproductive organs, including the fallopian tubes, to determine if they are open so the egg can pass through without difficulty.
Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG)
Hormone produced during pregnancy; its detection in urine or blood is the basis for most pregnancy tests.
The chemical over stimulation of a woman’s ovaries that can cause them to become enlarged.
An medical fiberoptic examination of the inner cavity of the uterus through the vagina and cervical canal.
When a fertilized egg burrows into the endometrium of the uterus where it will subsequently grow into an embryo.
Intracervical Insemination (ICI)
The placement of semen in the cervical canal.
Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)
Placement of a single sperm into an oocyte (egg) using a small glass needle to penetrate the outer coatings of the egg.
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
The process in which the washed sperm is inserted directly into the uterine cavity by a catheter.
In Vitro (IVF/In Vitro Fertilization)
An assisted reproductive procedure in which an egg is removed from a ripe follicle and fertilized by a sperm cell outside of the human body. The fertilized egg divides in a protected environment for about two days and then is inserted into the uterus of the woman who produced the egg or into a surrogate mother.
A chromosome analysis.
LH Surge
The rise of luteinizing hormone that usually occurs mid-cycle and triggers ovulation.
A synthetic form of luteinizing hormone used to suppress ovarian function.
Luteal Phase
The last fourteen days of an ovulatory cycle, associated with progesterone production from the corpus luteum.
Fluid containing nutritive growth substances enabling cells to survive in an artificial environment.
A medication consisting of pure follicle stimulating hormone which is injected to stimulate ovulation.
The embryotic stage wherein numerous cells are packed together inside the zona but the blastocyst cavity has not yet formed.
Secretion from the cervix that can be watery, gel-like, stretchy, sticky or dry.
Multiple Pregnancy
A pregnancy in which there are two or more fetuses.
Also known as ovum. This reproductive cell is the egg produced in the ovaries each month. The plural of ovum is ova.
Oocyte or Egg Retrieval
This is a surgical procedure done under general anesthesia to gather eggs from the ovarian follicles.
Female reproductive glands where the ova are developed. The hormones Estrogen and Progesterone are also produced there as well.
The discharge of a ripened egg from the ovary 14 days before a woman menstruates.
Ovulation Predictor Kit
A tests that detects the LH level in the urine to pinpoint the day of ovulation.
Mature egg. See also oocyte.
Pergonal and Metrodin
Ovulation induction medications, they are naturally occurring hormones excreted in the urine of post-menopausal women. When given to premenopausal women, these hormones stimulate ovarian follicle formation and maturation, with associated oocyte (egg) production. For actual ovulation to occur, a separate injection of HCG is needed to provide the surge of LH, which results in release of the ripened egg(s). At the appropriate time, intercourse, insemination or IVF ovum retrieval is planned.
Synthetic hormone that imitates Progesterone.
A female hormone secreted by the corpus luteum of the ovary after ovulation has occurred. It helps an impregnated egg “stick” to the walls of the uterus. Also produced by the placenta during pregnancy.
A specialized stage of the oocyte or sperm nucleus before their union. After this union the conceptus is referred to as a zygote.
Pronuclear Stage Tubal Transfer (PROST) (ZIFT)
Oocytes are aspirated, allowed to fertilize in vitro and the conceptus transferred before cell division (cleavage).
Reproductive Endocrinologist (R.E.)
An obstetrician gynecologist who specializes in the treatment of hormonal disorders that affect reproductive function.
An inflammation of the fallopian tubes.
Selective Reduction
The reduction of the amount of embryos or fetuses in the womb to allow the others a better chance of survival.
Semen Analysis
Analysis of semen for sperm count, motility, and morphology.
Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART)
Voluntary regulatory and consultative organization of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine responsible for assisted reproduction.
Sperm Buffer
When fresh semen is collected and placed in a cold-airtight container for shipping and immediate insemination use. The specimen can usually remain viable for up to thirty-six hours.
Sperm Count (sperm density)
The measurement of the number of sperm in a sample.
Sperm Donor (SD)
Man who donates his sperm to a single woman or couple so they may use it to procreate, usually the man signs away all parental rights to the child born as a result of the sperm donation.
Sperm Morphology
The analysis of the form and structure of sperm.
Sperm Penetration Assay (SPA)
A test where sperm are incubated with non-viable hamster eggs to determine the capacity of the sperm to fertilize.
Sperm Washing
Procedure that separates sperm from seminal fluid.
Testicular/Epididymal Sperm Aspiration(TESA)
The removal of sperm directly from the testis or the epididymis using a needle for aspiration. Usually associated with sperm injection into the oocyte (ICSI).
Trans-tubal Embryo Transfer (TET)
Replacement of a cleaving conceptus into the fallopian tube rather than into the uterus.
Traditional Surrogacy (TS)
A surrogate mother who uses her own eggs to produce a child for its intended parent(s). See Artificial Insemination.
Tubal Pregnancy
See Ectopic Pregnancy
Uterine Tube
see Fallopian Tube
The female reproductive organ that carries and nurtures a fetus until birth.
Zona pellucida
The protective coating surrounding an egg.
Zona Drilling
The creation of a hole in the shell that surrounds an egg.
Fertilized egg that has not yet begun to split.
Zygote Intra Fallopian transfer (ZIFT)
Transfer of a zygote into the fallopian tube.

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