The Fertility’s library – Embryolab

The Fertility’s library

A

ADHESIONS

Fibrous formations in the fallopian tubes or in the uterus which provoke low fertility by impeding the meeting of sperm and egg or the implanting of the fertilized egg.

AMENORRHOEA

The absence of menstruation (period) of more than 6 months.

ANEUPLOIDY

Abnormal number of chromosomes.

ANOVULATION

Absence of ovulation

ANTISPERM ANTIBODIES

Antibodies which impede the sperm from entering the woman’s birth canal and thus also impedes conception.

ASSISTED HATCHING

Mechanical, chemical or laser-produced breaking of the capsule surrounding the embryo so as to facilitate its implanting in the uterus.

ASSISTED REPRODUCTION TECHNOLOGY

All treatment approaches used to improve fertility

AZOOSPERMIA

Sperm which do not contain spermatozoa either because the testes do not produce spermatozoa or because the route the sperm follows is blocked.

B

BLASTOCYST

A stage in embryo development that takes place around 5 days after fertilisation. The embryo at this stage comprises two different kinds of cells – those that create placenta and those that create the foetus- from one central cavity.

BLASTOCYST TRANSFER

Following IVF, the fertilized oocytes arrive at the blastocyst stage and are afterwards transferred to the uterus

C

CERVICAL MUCUS

Secretions which naturally exist inside the cervical canal. Their amount and composition change after ovulation to facilitate the entrance of the sperm.

CERVIX

The lower mouth of the uterus.

CHOCOLATE CYST

A cyst in the ovary, which has a strong supply of blood. Appearing in the endometrium, and also known as an endometrioma.

CHORIONIC GONADOTROPIN (hCG)

Hormone which is produced from placenta at the beginning of pregnancy. It retains the corpus luteum so it can produce progesterone.

CHORIONIC GONADOTROPIN TEST

Blood test used to diagnose pregnancy and embryo development

CLOMIFENE CITRATE

Synthetic hormone acting on the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland which stimulates ovulation.

CONCEPTION

The fertilization of an egg by one spermatozoon which leads to the birth of a child.

CONGENITAL DISORDER

Condition present at birth and is due to hereditary or environmental factors.

CORPUS LUTEUM

Luteum cyst formed from the ovaries after the release of the egg. After being formed it produces oestrogen progesterone in preparation for the endometrium to accept embryo implant.

CRYOPRESERVATION

The procedure whereby the tissues or cells are frozen and then stored at low temperatures. Used for the storage of sperm and embryos. They are stored in phials that can be kept for decades.

D

NO ENTRIES

E

ECTOPIC PREGNANCY

A situation where the embryo grows outside the uterus, usually in the fallopian tubes or more rarely in the ovaries or even in the abdominal cavity. This type of pregnancy if continued can lead to a rupture of the fallopian tubes and a life-threatening haemorrhage. This kind of pregnancy cannot be sustained and might lead to damage in the fallopian tubes.

EGG/OOCYTE RETRIEVAL

The procedure whereby the eggs are received by the follicles with the help of transvaginal ultrasonography in order to be used for IVF.

EMBRYO

A fertilised egg planted in the uterus.

EMBRYO CRYOPRESERVATION

The application of IVF fertilisation can result in the creation of many embryos. The surplus of these embryos is frozen and kept in an embryo bank until they can be used in a likely failure.

EMBRYO TRANSFER

The transfer of the embryo into the uterus or fallopian tubes after IVF treatment.

ENDOMETRIAL BIOPSY

A surgical procedure whereby a small sample of the endometrium is taken and used in a microscopic histological test.

ENDOMETRIOSIS

A chronic condition in which the natural endometrium appears outside of the uterine cavity, most commonly in the pelvic region, including the ovaries. Endometriosis is often linked with problems of fertility in the woman although it has not been established to what extent it is a causal factor in low fertility.

EPIDIDYMIS

An organ joined to the testes in which the sperm is stored before ejaculation.

F

FALLOPIAN TUBES

Tubes between the ovaries and the uterus. The oocyte is transferred from the ovaries via the fallopian tubes to the uterus. It is the point at which the oocyte and spermatozoon are fertilized.

FALLOPIAN TUBE CILIA

Bulging of the fallopian tubes near the ovary. When they are stimulated during ovulation, they receive the oocyte and take it to the fallopian tube.

FERTILITY DRUGS

Group of drugs administered to women to improve fertility.

FOLLICLE-STIMULATING HORMONE (FSH)

Reproductive hormone which in the woman stimulates the growth of ovarian follicles an the production of oocytes and in the man stimulates sperm.

G

GAMETE

Term used for male spermatozoa or female ova.

GAMETE INTRAFALLOPIAN TRANSFER (GIFT)

A technique whereby the oocytes and the spermatozoa are brought together in a catheter and are placed in the fallopian tubes until fertilisation occurs.

GONAD

Neutral term used for the testes and the ovaries.

GONADOTROPIN

Hormones which are secreted from the anterior pituitary gland which stimulate the ovaries and testes respectively.

H

HORMONE

Chemical substance which transfers a mark from one part of the body to another

HYPEROVULATION SYNDROME

A complication which may be provoked by pharmaceutical stimulation of the ovaries. It is characterized by an increase in the size of the ovaries and fluid concentration in the abdominal region. On rare occasions there may also be respiratory difficulties. Hyperovulation syndrome has a very broad spectrum of severity during its clinical expression.

HYPOTHALAMUS

Part of the brain which produces many hormones and plays an important role in the reproductive system.

HYSTERECTOMY

Surgical intervention which includes the removal of the uterus and very often the cervix, but not necessarily the ovaries and the fallopian tubes.

HYSTEROSALPINGOGRAPHY

Examination of the fallopian tubes. A contrast agent is squirted into the uterus and x-rays of the pelvis are taken. This is used to check for any abnormalities in the uterus or blockages in the fallopian tubes.

HYSTEROSCOPY

Surgical intervention in which the inside of the uterus is checked for abnormalities. Used for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes.

I

IMPLANTATION

The procedure whereby following their entry into the uterine cavity, the fertilised oocyte comes into contact with the endometrium and thereafter with the uterine vessels.

INSEMINATION

The entry of spermatozoa into the ovum.

INSEMINATION

The injection of sperm in the uterus after the specific procedure in the lab.

INTRAOVARIAL SPERM TRANSFER

A technique carried out in the lab in which a spermatozoon is introduced to an oocyte to bring about fertilisation.

INTRAUTERINE INSEMINATION

An assisted reproduction technique in which a processed sperm sample is placed in the intrauterine cavity, bypassing the cervix, and thus allowing the spermatozoa to enter the fallopian tubes more easily where fertilisation will occur naturally.

IN-VITRO FERTILISATION (IVF)

This term relates to the fertilisation which occurs outside the human body. This technique includes ovarian stimulation, oocyte collection, oocyte insemination, embryo culture in the lab and afterwards implantation of the embryo in the uterus for the embryo to develop naturally.

J

NO ENTRIES

K

KARYOTYPE

Description of the number and type of chromosomes in genetic material of an organism.

L

LAPAROSCOPY

Surgical procedure in which a special endoscopic instrument, a laparoscope, is inserted through a small section of the abdominal wall to examine the inside of the abdomen and reproductive organs.

LOW FERTILITY

The inability to achieve pregnancy after a period of at least one year of free/unprotected sexual contacts.

LUTEAL PHASE

The second half of the menstrual cycle after the release of the oocyte and up until the period.

LUTEINISING HORMONE-LH

Reproductive hormone which is secreted from the pituitary gland and stimulates the ovaries and testes.

M

MENSTRUAL CYCLE

A series of changes which take place each month in the uterus and the other female genitalia and last on average 28 days. Measured from one period until the next.

MISCARRIAGE OR STILL BIRTH

The automatic interruption of gestation before the foetus completes its endometrial development for it to survive. This normally happens before the 12th week of gestation is finished.

MULTIPLE PREGNANCY

Pregnancy whereby 2 or more embryos develop.

MYOMA

Benign tumour of the uterus, common among women of reproductive age. The size, number and position of myomas vary greatly.

N

NATURAL CYCLE

In-vitro cycle in which drugs are not administered to stimulate egg production.

O

OESTRADIOL

The strongest natural oestrogen which is produced from the ovaries and is released during ovulation. It helps in the development of the ovarian follicles and the endometrium.

OESTRADIOL TEST

A blood test where the level of oestradiol is evaluated. Together with the ultrasound test it is used to assess how the ovaries react during stimulation.

OESTROGEN

The main hormones of the woman which activate the development and maturation of the woman’s reproductive organs. During the first half of the menstruation cycle they stimulate the uterine wall to gain a good blood flow.

OLIGOMENORRHOEA-AMENORRHOEA

A disturbance in the cycle in which menstruation comes after 35 days. This is usually caused by a disturbance of the hormones produced in the ovaries.

OLIGOSPERMIA – ASTHENOSPERMIA-TERATOSPERMIA (OLIGOASTHENOTERATOSPERMIA)

Reduced number, reduced motility and unnatural morphology in the spermatozoa respectively.

OOCYTE DONATION

Eggs from a fertile woman donated to an infertile woman.

OOCYTE RETRIEVAL

Procedure where oocytes (eggs) are collected from the ovarian follicles with the help of the transvaginal ultrasound so as to use them for IVF.

OVARIAN CYST

A liquid-filled cyst in the ovary. It is not usually linked to any disease and disappear on their own. These cysts may form during follicle maturation, which is not subject to rupture and does not release an egg.

OVARIAN FAILURE

Condition whereby there is a failure of ovarian function in which the woman’s cycle stops, oestrogen levels drop and FSH levels increase.

OVARIAN FOLLICLE

Small cyst in the ovary inside which the egg develops.

OVARIAN STIMULATION

Course of medicine which activates the development of one or more ovarian follicles at the same time as the ovaries.

OVARY

Female reproductive organ which produces eggs and hormones.

OVULATION – FOLLICLE RUPTURE

The rupture of the follicle and the release of the egg.

OVULATION PHASE - DEVELOPMENT

The part of the woman’s cycle prior to ovulation in which the ovarian follicles mature and the high oestrogen levels provoke an increase in the endometrium.

OVUM (EGG) – OOCYTE

The female genetic cell.

P

PAP TEST

Microscopic test of the cells in the cervix for the early diagnosis of cancer or pre-cancerous conditions of the cervix.

PASSABILITY OF THE FALLOPIAN TUBES

The ability of the fallopian tubes to allow the fertilised oocytes to pass into the uterus.

PELVIC INFLAMMATORY DISEASE

A general term which is used to describe inflammatory disorders of the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries.

PITUITARY GLAND

Part of the brain which produces many hormones which play an important role in the reproductive system.

POLYCYSTIC OVARY SYNDROME

Metabolic condition which is linked with period and ovulation disorders. It can include increased hair growth, obesity and other hormone imbalances.

PREIMPLANTATION DIAGNOSIS

Genetic examination of the embryo during IVF. This test is used to assess the genetic material of the embryo before it is transferred to the uterus.

PROGESTERONE

A very important hormone in the ovaries which normally secretes after ovulation and during pregnancy. It stimulates the development of the endometrium so that it is capable of accepting the fertilized egg.

PROLACTIN

Hormone of the pituitary gland which stimulates the production of milk in lactating mothers. Found at low levels also in women who are not pregnant.

PROSTATE GLAND

Gland which surrounds the urethra, and is located below the urinary bladder and in front of the rectum in males. It produces around 1/3 of the liquid during ejaculation.

PYOSPERMIA

High white blood cell count in sperm.

Q

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R

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S

SALPINGITIS

Inflammation of the fallopian tubes.

SALPINGECTOMY

The surgical removal of the fallopian tube. This usually occurs when the fallopian tube has been infected by an ectopic pregnancy, or otherwise the cause might be from chronic inflammation and the presence of hydrosalpinx.

SEMEN ANALYSIS - SPERMOGRAM

Detailed microscopic semen test and determination of number, motility and morphology of spermatozoa.

SEMINAL VESICLES

Pair of glands of the male reproductive system located at the base of the urinary bladder. It produces a part of the sperm.

SPERMATOZOON

The cell which transfers the man’s genetic material to the woman’s ovum.

SPERM DONATION

A sample of sperm donated to be used in fertility techniques.

STERILITY

The complete inability to achieve pregnancy with free contact.

SURROGATE MOTHER

A type of substitution whereby a surrogate mother accepts the embryo of another couple, gestates and returns the new born following birth.

T

TESTES

Male glands which produce spermatozoa and are located in the scrotum. They are responsible for producing the male hormone, testosterone.

TESTICULAR BIOPSY

Surgical procedure where a small sample of testicular tissue is taken, which is examined for the existence of spermatozoa in the tissue examined in order for them to be used in fertility treatment.

TESTOSTERONE

The main male hormone responsible for secondary sex characteristics and libido. It is also vital for the production of sperm.

TRANSVAGINAL ULTRASOUND

Ultrasound graph performed from the vaginal opening. This is the basic test to evaluate ovarian follicle development, as well as the carrying out of oocyte retrieval.

U

ULTRASONOGRAPHY - ULTRASOUND

The use of high frequency sound waves which reflect against solid tissues, providing an image of the internal organs. It is used to assess follicle development as well as check the progress of pregnancy.

UNEXPLAINED INFERTILITY

Infertility in which causal factors cannot be found even after an infertile couple has undergone tests.

UTERINE MYOMECTOMY

The surgical removal of the myoma.

TERUS

Organ of the woman’s reproductive system inside which the embryo develops.

V

VARICOCELE

A swelling of the veins inside the testes, leading to an increase in temperature, obstructing the correct blood flow of the region.

W

NO ENTRIES

X

NO ENTRIES

Y

NO ENTRIES

Z

ZYGOTE

The fertilised egg with its two prominent pronuclei. The first day of the embryo’s development

ZYGOTE INTRAFALLOPIAN TRANSFER

A technique in which a fertilised egg which has yet to be divided is placed in a fallopian tube.