is a procedure in which sperm are introduced into a woman’s uterus through clinical means instead of through sexual intercourse. Artificial insemination, also called “intrauterine insemination,” increases the likelihood that sperm will reach and fertilize an egg.
To help an embryo break through the zona pellucida (a protective, encapsulating shell) and successfully implant in the uterus, a doctor may thin down or create a small hole in this shell.
Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)
– Medical treatments aimed at helping couples with fertility obstacles conceive and give birth to healthy children. In-vitro fertilization, intracytoplasmic sperm injection, and assisted hatching are examples of fertility treatments used to help couples begin successful pregnancies.
- Embryos develop for 4 or 5 days (until they reach blastocyst stage), rather than the usual 2 or 3 days in in vitro fertilization (IVF).
– A procedure in which embryos or semen are frozen for future attempts at pregnancy. Fertility doctors will often fertilize more eggs than a woman needs in case initial pregnancies are not successful, or in case the woman hopes to have children again at a later time.
- Implantation of an embryo in a place other than the uterus.
- A procedure used to obtain eggs from ovarian follicles for use in in vitro fertilization (IVF). The procedure may be performed during laparoscopy or through the vagina by using a needle and ultrasound to locate the follicle in the ovary.
– An unborn human in the developmental stage that stretches from conception until roughly the eighth week of pregnancy. During the embryonic stage an embryo’s brain begins to grow, the limbs form, and the heart begins to beat. Eggs that are fertilized outside a woman’s body are introduced in either the zygote or blastocyst stage of embryonic growth.
- Placing an egg fertilized outside the womb into a woman’s uterus.
- A disease whereby cells lining the uterus (or endometrium) get outside of the uterus and stick to other organs, causing pain. This is one of the most common causes of infertility and is treatable.
- The lining of the uterus.
- The most potent naturally occurring estrogen in humans, which is released from the ovary.
– Spheres of cells that surround immature egg cells within the ovaries. Follicles house eggs as they grow and release them when they reach maturity. Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) causes an egg to mature within a follicle and lutenizing hormone (LH) causes the follicle to release the mature egg and thus begin an ovulation cycle.
Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH)
– A hormone produced by the pituitary gland that maintains the maturation process of eggs within ovarian follicles and stimulates sperm growth within the testes.
Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET)
- Frozen embryos can be thawed and used at a later date without having to go through the entire in-vitro fertilization process.
– Sex cells that contain half of a person’s genetic information. Male gametes are called sperm; female gametes are called eggs or “ova.”
Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT)
– A fertility treatment that, when successful, allows fertilization to occur within a woman’s body. During the first stage of the GIFT treatment, a woman receives fertility drugs to stimulate production of multiple follicles and eggs. The woman’s hormone levels are measured so that the doctor will know when the eggs have reached maturity. At this point, the eggs are removed, combined with sperm, and quickly inserted into the woman’s fallopian tubes through a small incision in her abdomen. GIFT is not an appropriate treatment for women with closed fallopian tubes.
– Fertility drugs used to prevent the pituitary gland from releasing FSH and LH hormones. FSH and LH aid in normal ovulation, but may interfere with assisted reproductive treatments. Lupron, Synarel, and Zoladex are GnRH agonists used in the United States.
– Fertility drugs that, like GnRH agonists, suppress ovulation. GnRH antagonists are effective at immediately preventing LH release. The two brands of GnRH antagonists used in the United States are Antagon and Cetrotide.
– Fertility drugs that provide the patient with FSH and LH, or FSH alone. Gonadotropins are highly potent fertility drugs and are not usually used unless clomiphene citrate has proven ineffective. Patients receiving gonadotropins (such as Pergonal®, Gonal F, and Profasi) must be monitored by their physicians.
Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG)
is the hormone that prolongs the lifespan of the corpus luteum as well as stimulates production of progesterone, another hormone essential to maintain the pregnancy. This is also the hormone pregnancy tests (blood and urine) detect.
– A procedure in which fibroid tumors are removed from the uterus. Fibroid tumors, though noncancerous, can interfere with the ability of a fertilized egg to implant in the uterus, and can cause miscarriage.
– A general term used to describe conditions that interfere with a couple’s ability to have a child. Low sperm count, blocked fallopian tubes, hormonal imbalance, and fibroid tumors cause infertility for many couples. Through medical treatments, conditions that cause infertility are often overcome.
Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)
– An infertility treatment in which a single sperm is injected directly into an egg. The resulting embryo is transplanted into the woman’s uterus. Intracytoplasmic sperm injection is a helpful treatment for couples dealing with infertility resulting from weak sperm.
– Any procedure using a laparoscope, a slender tool with an attached camera that enables a physician to see the inside of the body. Infertility specialists perform laparoscopy to view a woman’s reproductive organs. Laparoscopy can be used for diagnostic purposes or to perform surgical functions such as removing damaged tissue and releasing fluids from ovarian cysts.
Lutenizing Hormone (LH)
– Hormone produced by the pituitary gland that causes a woman’s graafian follicles to release eggs. After releasing eggs these follicles become progesterone-releasing “corpora lutea.” In men, LH causes testosterone-secreting cells in the testes to develop. Another name for LH is interstitial cell stimulating hormone (ICSH).
– An immature female gamete, or “egg.” The term “oocyte” usually refers to an immature egg, while the term “ovum” refers to a mature egg.
Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS)
- Sudden ovarian enlargement accompanied by fluid accumulation in the abdominal cavity. This may occur with or without pain, and with or without accumulation of fluid in the lungs. OHSS is caused when the ovaries become over stimulated by the various hormones that cause follicular development.
– Female sex organs that release mature eggs and produce the hormones estrogen and progesterone.
– The release of a mature egg into the fallopian tubes. During ovulation, an ovum will pass from the ovaries, through the fallopian tubes, to the uterus. Ovulation is initiated by follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and lutenizing hormone (LH). Fertilization normally occurs when a woman is ovulating.
– Medical treatments designed to encourage ovulation. During ovulation induction treatments women are given fertility drugs that mimic the natural hormones FSH and LH. For some women, ovulation induction is used to restore normal ovulation cycles, while for others it is used to stimulate the release of multiple eggs during ovulation.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
- The formation of cysts in the ovaries that occurs when the follicle stops developing. This is due to a hormonal imbalance in the ovary.
Pre-Genetic Diagnosis (PGD)
- One of the female sex hormones, which is produced by the ovary and placenta. Progesterone prepares the lining of the uterus, for implantation of a fertilized egg, and helps maintain the pregnancy.
Testicular Sperm Aspiration (TESA)
– A method of sperm retrieval in which a needle is used to draw a thin piece of sperm-containing tissue directly from the testes. TESA does not retrieve as much sperm as TESE and carries greater risks, as the needle may puncture blood vessels in the testicle.
Testicular Sperm Extraction (TESE)
– A sperm aspiration method in which a small section of tissue from one or both of the testicles is removed through one or more short incisions in the scrotum. Sperm are extracted from the tissue by an embryologist and used, through ICSI, to fertilize a woman’s eggs. TESE may work for a man who does not have mature sperm in his epididymis.
– The ability of a sperm cell to “swim.” Sperm cells are equipped with long tails that propel them through fluids in a woman’s body, and into her fallopian tubes. Sperm motility tests measure a sperm cell’s ability to swim.
- The physical structure and configuration of sperm cells.
– A technique used by physicians to separate sperm cells from seminal plasma. Washed sperm are used to fertilize a woman’s eggs. Sperm washing may allow an HIV-positive man to father children with minimal risk to his partner and child.
- A test used instead of X-rays to visualize the reproductive organs; for example, to monitor follicular development.
– A fertilized egg. A zygote has a complete set of chromosomes and a sex, but has not yet implanted in the uterine cavity.
Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer (ZIFT)
– A surgical procedure in which one or more zygotes are surgically placed into a woman’s fallopian tubes. Fertility drugs are usually used to stimulate egg production and to prepare the uterine cavity for zygote implantation. Zygotes are introduced into the fallopian tubes through a laparoscope, and travel to the uterus where, if the procedure has been successful, they implant and continue their growth.