Glossary

adhesions Bands of scar tissue attached to organ surfaces and capable of connecting, covering, or distorting organs, such as tubes, ovaries or uterus. Can also occur inside uterine cavity; increased risk with history of multiple miscarriages, D&Cs and C-sections.
AID (artificial insemination, donor) A procedure introducing sperm from an anonymous donor into a woman’s uterus in order to achieve a pregnancy.
AIH (artificial insemination, husband or homologous) A special insemination procedure used to introduce sperm collected from a woman’s partner into the woman’s uterus. Also referred to as intrauterine insemination (IUI).
antisperm antibodies Antibodies that may be produced by either a female or male which may damage sperm or cause them to adhere to each other, thus limiting their fertility potential.
azoospermia The absence of sperm in the ejaculate.
cervical mucus Mucus produced by the cervix which changes in thickness and quantity at the time of ovulation.
cervix The lower section of the uterus which protrudes into the vagina and serves as a passageway for sperm into the uterus.
corpus luteum The remainder of the follicle in the ovary that develops after the egg is released, which secretes progesterone.
cryopreservation The preservation of sperm, embryos or eggs by freezing, usually by immersion in liquid nitrogen.
endometriosis The presence of endometrial tissue in abnormal locations, such as the fallopian tubes, ovaries and abdominal cavity. The condition frequently causes pain and discomfort during menstruation, or intercourse, or even chronic pelvic pain. May also cause infertility.
endometrium The inner lining of the uterus.
estrogen The primary female hormone produced mainly by the ovaries from puberty to menopause.
fallopian tube The tube that connects the uterus and ovary. It allows the egg to pass from the ovary to the uterus and the spermatozoa from the uterus toward the ovary.
fibroids Also known as leiomyoma, Pl. Leiomyomata. Smooth muscle tumors of the muscular wall of the uterus which are almost always benign but may cause infertility or recurrent miscarriages, or gynecologic symptoms such as painful/heavy menses, pelvic “heaviness” or pain
follicle A cystic structure in the ovary which contains and nurtures the ovum (egg). It enlarges to a diameter of 18 – 28 mm (3/4 – 1 inch) before ovulation, at which point it releases the egg.
Follistim The brand name of a new recombinant FSH used to stimulate the ovaries to produce follicles. Gonal-F is the brand name of another recombinant FSH on the market.
FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) A hormone that recruits and then stimulates growth of the follicle in the ovary, as well as the formation of spermatozoa in the testes.
Ganirelix A GnRH antagonist that can be used to prevent premature ovulation in IVF cycles.
gonadotropin A hormone (FSH, LH, hMG, hCG) which stimulates the gonads (ovaries or testes).
GnRH (gonadotropin releasing hormone) A small hormone produced by the brain which causes the pituitary gland to manufacture and release FSH and LH.
GnRH agonist (Lupron) Differs from GnRH at 2 amino-acid positions. Used to stop production of FSH and LH from the pituitary gland. Can also be used to trigger ovulation in specially designed protocols.Also used to treat endometriosis and fibroids.
Gonal-F The brand name of a recombinant FSH used to stimulate the ovaries to produce follicles. Follistim is the brand name of another recombinant FSH on the market.
hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) A hormone produced by the placenta. Detection of its presence in urine or blood is the basis of the pregnancy test. Also used to trigger final maturation and ovulation of the egg.
hMG (human menopausal gonadotropin) A hormone (Menopur) used to stimulate follicle production. Equal parts of FSH and LH activity are present.
hysteroscopy An endoscopic (fiber-optic tube) procedure used primarily to visualize the interior of the uterus.
implantation The embedding of the embryo in the uterine wall.
in-vitro fertilization/embryo transfer A procedure in which an egg is removed from a ripe follicle and fertilized with sperm outside the body. The resulting embryo is inserted into the woman’s uterus.
laparoscopy An abdominal surgical procedure using an endoscopic instrument (fiber-optic tube) to view the fallopian tubes, ovaries, uterus, and other abdominal structures. The laparoscope may also be used to perform surgical procedures, employing the use of lasers and other specialized equipment.
LH (luteinizing hormone) A hormone produced and released by the pituitary gland. In the female, it is responsible for maturation and then the release of the ovum. In the male, it stimulates testosterone production.
Lutrepulse The trade name for a gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) used to induce ovulation in some patients. It is administered through an infusion pump in a pulsatile fashion.
oligospermia The presence of a low number of sperm in the ejaculate.
ovum The egg cell (gamete) produced in a woman’s ovaries during each menstrual cycle.
ovulation The release of a mature egg from the surface of the ovary.
PGD Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis
pituitary gland A gland at the base of the brain which produces many hormones, including FSH and LH.
polyps Small, mostly benign growths protruding from the lining of the endometrium or endocervix. More common in patients with irregular menses or PCOS
progesterone A hormone produced and released during the second half of a woman’s ovulatory cycle. It is necessary in the preparation of the uterine lining for implantation of the fertilized egg.
semen The sperm and seminal secretions ejaculated by the male during orgasm.
sperm Male reproductive cells contained in the seminal fluid.
Suction morcellator Newest hysteroscopic technology to remove intrauterine polyps, fibroids, and adhesions. Allows more complete removal of larger, more technically demanding fibroids than was previously possible.
testosterone The most potent male sex hormone, produced in the testes.
uterus The reproductive organ which protects and nourishes the developing embryo/fetus. It is a hollow, muscular structure that is part of the female reproductive tract, and it is the source of a woman’s menses.
vagina A tubular passageway in the female which connects the external sex organs with the cervix and uterus.