Embyo Adoption and Donation
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Embyo Adoption and Donation
Glossary

   A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   K   L   M   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   X   Y   Z

A (return to top)
  Acrosome
the packet of enzymes in the head of a sperm that allows the sperm to dissolve a hole in the coating around the egg and to penetrate and fertilize the egg
  Acrosome reaction
a chemical change that enables a sperm to penetrate an egg
  Amenorrhea
absence of menstruation
  Amniocentesis
test performed between the 16th and 18th week of pregnancy to determine the presence of birth defects in the developing fetus; a small needle is inserted into the amniotic fluid that surrounds the developing baby and the fluid is then screened for genetic conditions such as Down Syndrome
  Androgens
male reproductive hormones, such as testosterone; may be produced in excess by the female in certain conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
  Anejaculation
a condition in which no semen is discharged from the penis during sexual arousal
  Anovulation
the absence of ovulation
  Antibody
substances that are produced by specialized cells in the body, called B cells, which attack foreign material that enters the body in order to prevent or fight off infection
  Anti-sperm Antibodies
antibodies directed against sperm; if directed specifically against the head of the sperm, they can interfere with fertilization; can be present in both men and women
  Arcateuterus
a mild deformity of the uterus that involves the presence of a very small separation in the midline of the fundus (the upper part of the uterus) inside the uterine cavity.
  Artificial Insemination (AI)
the process of depositing specially prepared sperm inside the woman's reproductive tract; see also Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
  Assisted Hatching
the process of helping an embryo hatch by making a surgical slit in the zona pellucida or "shell" or by digesting this "shell" with special enzymes
  Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)
a term used to describe a number of medical procedures that enhance the opportunity for egg fertilization and pregnancy, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT), Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI), and Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer ZIFT
  Azoospermia
the complete absence of sperm; can result from obstruction of the vas deferens (the duct that takes the sperm from the testicles to the urethra) or from failure of the testicles to produce sperm
B (return to top)
  Basal Body Temperature (BBT)
indirect evidence of ovulation obtained by monitoring the body's temperature either orally or rectally with a special thermometer immediately upon awakening and before any activity
  Bicornuate Uterus
a congenital abnormality of the uterus that involves a partial lack of fusion of the two parts of the uterus, although a single cervix is present
  Biological Father (see also Genetic Father)
the man whose sperm fertilized the ovum from which a child developed and who is therefore genetically related to that child.
  Biological Mother (see also Genetic Mother)
the woman from whose ovum or egg a child developed and who is therefore genetically related to that child
  Blastocyst
an embryo made up of two groups of cells, an outer shell of cells with an attached inner group of cells; one group will develop into the fetus and the other will become the placenta
C (return to top)
  Capacitation
the changes that a sperm goes through to be capable of penetrating the layers covering the egg
  Cervical Cultures
the process of obtaining samples of secretions from the cervix and culturing them on special media to detect the presence of infectious organisms
  Cervical Mucus
a thick mucinous secretion, present inside the cervical canal and produced by glandular cells that are present in the cervix
  Cervical Stenosis
narrowing or blockage of the cervical canal in such a way that menstrual flow can partially or completely be impeded
  Cervicitis
inflammation of the cervix
  Cervix
the lower, narrow ended portion of the uterus that opens into the vagina and is connected to the uterine cavity by a hollow canal called the cervical canal
  Chlamydia
a sexually transmitted disease, which if left untreated in a woman, may cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), pelvic adhesions, and tubal blockage
  Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS)
a test performed early during pregnancy, usually between the 10th and 13th weeks, to check for the presence of genetic disorders by obtaining a biopsy of the placenta
  Chromosome
the nuclear structure of every living cell; a normal human cell has 46 chromosomes, with human gametes (i.e. eggs and sperm) each contain only 23 chromosomes
  Colposcopy
examination of the cervix through a magnifying telescope to detect abnormal cells
  Conceptus/Concepti
term given to an embryo that has implanted in the uterus
  Cone Biopsy
a procedure where precancerous cells are removed from the cervix
  Conization
surgical removal of a cone-shaped portion of the cervix, usually as a treatment for a pre-cancerous condition
  Controlled Superovulation
the administration of hormone medications (ovulation drugs) that stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs; also called enhanced follicular recruitment or controlled ovarian hyperstimulation
  Corpus Luteum
a follicle that releases an egg at the time of ovulation
  Cryoprotectant
a chemical component of the freezing solution used in cryopreservation that protects the cells from damage while frozen
  Cryptorchidism
a condition causing male infertility in which one or both testes fail to descend into the scrotum after the first year of life
  Culture Media
a specially formulated solution that enables growth and division of a fertilized egg outside of the body until embryo transfer takes place
  Cycle
A term most commonly referring to the menstrual cycle
  Cyropreservation
the process of freezing sperm or embryos in extremely low temperatures (-196°C) in order to preserve them for future use in ART procedures; at present, eggs cannot be cryopreserved
D (return to top)
  Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA)
the combination of molecules in the cell's nucleus that make up the chromosomes, which transmit hereditary characteristics
  Depot Kit
an injectable medication that maintains its effect for an extended period of time
  Diethylstilbestrol (DES)
a medication prescribed to pregnant women during the late 1940's to the early 70's to prevent miscarriage and the use of which was banned in 1971 in pregnant women because it was found to cause abnormalities and deformities of the reproductive organs in the children of women who took this drug during pregnancy
  Dihydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS)
a type of androgen that may be found in excessive amounts in women with PCOS, or other conditions of excessive androgen production
  Dilatation and curettage (D&C)
a procedure in which the cervix is gradually enlarged (dilatation) so that a sharp instrument (curette) may be introduced into the uterus to scrape the surface of uterine cavity (endometrium)
E (return to top)
  Ectopic Pregnancy
a pregnancy in which the fertilized ovum has implanted in a location other than inside the uterus, most commonly, in a fallopian tube
  Egg (Ovum)
the female sex cells produced by the female's ovaries, which, when fertilized by a male's sperm, produce embryos, the earliest form of human life
  Egg Donation
a process that involves taking eggs from a fertile woman and giving them to an infertile woman to be used in an assisted reproductive technology procedure
  Egg Retrieval
the process of introducing a long needle through the vagina and into the ovaries under ultrasound guidance to aspirate the follicles that contain the eggs
  Ejaculate
the semen and sperm-containing fluid released at orgasm
  Ejaculatory Ducts
the male ducts that contract the fluid released at orgasm
  Electroejaculation
controlled electrical stimulation to induce ejaculation in men with damage to the nerves that control ejaculation
  Embryo
the fertilized ovum or egg that has begun the process of cell division; the earliest form of human life
  Embryo Adoption
the process whereby embryos produced from the sperm and egg of one couple are adopted by an infertile woman or couple who have fulfilled adoptive parenting requirements; embryo adoption usually actively involves both couples in the selection of each other
  Embryo Donation
embryos produced from the sperm and egg of one couple and donated to an infertile woman or couple; embryo donation is usually anonymous
  Embryo Transfer
a procedure where embryos are deposited inside the uterus, or, in the case of zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT) or tubal embryo transfer (TET), into the fallopian tube
  Embryologist
a specialist in embryo development
  Endometrial Biopsy
a procedure where a sample is removed from the tissue lining the inside of the uterus (endometrium) by inserting a small, hollow catheter through the cervix and gently scraping the endometrium while suction is applied to the catheter; the endometrial tissue is then examined microscopically.
  Endometrioma
a special type of ovarian cyst that is chocolate in color and contains endometrial cells that grow and bleed during menstruation; also known as a chocolate cyst
  Endometriosis
inflammation of the endometrium; a condition in which endometrial tissue implants outside of the uterus, such as over the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and abdominal cavity
  Endometrium
the inside lining of the uterus that thickens as the monthly cycle progresses so that implantation of the embryo may occur, resulting in pregnancy; this lining is shed each month with the menstrual period if no implantation occurs
  Epididymis
the tightly coiled, thin-walled tube where sperm cells mature and are stored and through which sperm move from the testicles to the vas deferens
  Epididymitis
inflammation of the epididymis
  Estradiol
the principal estrogen produced by the ovary
  Estrogen
the major female hormone secreted by the ovaries, responsible for regulating the normal growth and differentiation of the follicle and the egg and preparing the endometrial lining for implantation
F (return to top)
  Fallopian Tubes
Two narrow, hollow structures or ducts present on either side of a woman's uterus that connect the ovaries to the uterus and through which a released egg travels to the uterus; fertilization typically occurs in the fallopian tubes if sperm is present to meet the egg.
  Fecundability
the ability to become pregnant
  Fertilization
union of the male gamete (sperm) with the female gamete (egg)
  Fetus
the medical term for an embryo from the second month of pregnancy, when most major structures (head, torso, limbs, etc.) have formed, until birth
  Fibroid
abnormal growths of muscle within the wall of the uterus, which, while not cancerous, may cause irregular bleeding, pain, and enlargement of the uterus; may also interfere with normal implantation of an embryo into the endometrium
  Fimbria
the finger-like projections at the end of the fallopian tube nearest the ovary that capture the egg and deliver it into the tube
  Fimbrioplasty
plastic surgery on the fimbria of a damaged or blocked fallopian tube
  Fluoroscope
an imaging device that uses X-rays to view internal body structures on a screen
  Follicle
a small egg-containing sack within the ovary which releases a mature egg during an ovulating womans cycle
  Follicular Phase
the pre-ovulatory phase of a women's cycle during which the follicle grows and high estrogen levels cause the uterine lining to thicken in preparation for implantation
  FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone)
fertility medications in this class are injectables that stimulate the growth and development of the follicles
G (return to top)
  Gamete
the reproductive cells; spermatozoa in men and the egg (oocyte) in women
  Gene
the unit of heredity, composed of DNA; the building block of chromosomes
  Gestation Sac
the fluid-filled sac in which the fetus develops, visible by an ultrasound exam; also called an embryonic sac
  GIFT (Gamete Intra Fallopian Transfer)
a procedure where unfertilized eggs, retrieved from the woman, are placed together with sperm in a catheter and transferred back into the woman's fallopian tubes to allow fertilization inside the woman's body
  GnRH (Gonadotropin releasing hormone)
the hormone produced and released by the hypothalamus which controls the pituitary gland's production and release of gonadotropins
  GnRH agonist
a medication that acts like gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) to cause a surge in the production of gonadotropins; when given continuously, however, it suppresses pituitary and ovarian function.
  GnRH antagonist
A recent class of fertility medications that block the effect of GnRH, resulting in a rapid suppression of gonadotropin release by the pituitary gland
  Gonadotropins
the hormones produced by the pituitary gland that control reproductive function follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH)
  Gonads
organs that produce the sex cells and sex hormones; testicles in men and ovaries in women
  Gonorrhea
a sexually transmitted infection that can lead to infertility
  Granuloma
a ball of inflamed tissue, commonly formed after vasectomy due to sperm leaking from the vas deferens
H (return to top)
  Hamster Test
a test of the ability of a man's sperm to penetrate a hamster egg stripped of its outer membrane, the zona pellucida; also called the Sperm Penetration Assay
  HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin)
a hormone, naturally produced during early pregnancy, also available as an injectable medication to help trigger ovulation in fertility treatments
  Hemizona Assay
a test of the ability of sperm to penetrate a human egg
  Hepatitis B and C
viruses that may be either sexually transmitted or transmitted by contact with blood and other bodily fluids, which can cause infection of the liver leading to jaundice and liver failure
  Hirsutism
excessive hair growth; a condition sometimes occurring in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
  hMG (human Menopausal Gonadotropin)
these injectable medications consist of LH and FSH hormones recovered from the urine of postmenopausal women and are used to induce development of multiple follicles in various fertility treatments.
  Hormone
a substance, produced by an endocrine gland, that travels through the bloodstream to a specific organ, where it exerts its effect
  Hostile Mucus
cervical mucus that impedes the natural progress of sperm through the cervical canal
  Human immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
a retrovirus transmitted by the exchange of bodily fluids or blood transfusions that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), a disease that destroys the body's ability to protect itself from infection and disease
  Hydrotubation
injection of fluid, often into the fallopian tubes to determine if they are patent
  Hyperandrogenism
excessive production of androgens in women, frequently a cause of hirsutism and also associated with polycystic ovarian disease (PCOD)
  Hyperprolactinemia
a condition of excessive prolactin in the blood
  Hyperstimulation
excessive stimulation of the ovaries that can cause them to become enlarged
  Hypogonadism
refers to a spectrum of disorders that result in reduced levels of male or female sex hormones; typically caused by a deficient production of hypothalamic or pituitary hormones
  Hypothalamus
a gland at the base of the brain that secretes the hormone GnRH, which in turn stimulates the pituitary gland to produce LH and FSH, thereby regulating various bodily functions, including ovulation in women and sperm production in men
  Hypothyroidism
underactivity of the thyroid gland, resulting in low levels of thyroid hormone in the blood
  Hysterectomy
surgical removal of the uterus
  Hysterosalpingogram (HSG)
an x-ray procedure in which a radio-opaque dye is injected through the cervix into the uterine cavity to illustrate the inner shape of the uterus and degree of openness (patency) of the fallopian tubes
  Hysteroscopy
a procedure where a long, thin, lighted telescope-like instrument, the hysteroscope, is inserted through the cervix into the uterine cavity, allowing the physician to directly examine the inside of the uterus
I (return to top)
  Immune System
the body's defense against any injury or invasion by a foreign substance or organism
  Immunoglobulins
a class of proteins endowed with antibody activity; antibodies
  Immunosuppressive Drug
a drug that interferes with or suppresses normal immune response
  Implantation
attachment of the fertilized egg to the uterine lining, usually occurring five to seven days after ovulation
  Implantation Bleeding
light bleeding or spotting that sometimes occurs when an embryo implants in the uterus
  Impotence
a condition in which a man is unable to achieve an erection or ejaculation
  In utero
while in the uterus during early development
  In vitro fertilization (IVF)
an assisted reproductive laboratory procedure in which fertilization is attempted by placing sperm cells in a special dish with unfertilized eggs; the resulting embryos can subsequently be transferred into the uterus or cryopreserved for future use; (literally, "in glass")
  Incompetent Cervix
a condition in which the cervix is unable to remain closed throughout pregnancy; a frequent cause of miscarriage or premature birth
  Infertility
the inability of a couple to achieve a pregnancy or to carry a pregnancy to term after one year of unprotected intercourse in women 35 years of age and younger, and after six months of unprotected intercourse in women 36 years of age and older
  Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)
a technique to facilitate fertilization, in which a single sperm is placed in a needle and injected directly into the cytoplasm of an egg for the purpose of attempting fertilization
  Intramuscular (IM)
used to describe injections given into a muscle
  Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
A procedure in which sperm is inserted through the cervix and deposited directly into the uterus, using a fine insemination catheter for the purpose of attaining fertilization and pregnancy; see also Artificial Insemination
K (return to top)
  Karyotype
a test to detect the arrangement of all the chromosomes of a cell
  Klinefelter's Syndrome
a chromosomal abnormality that causes irreversible infertility due to the presence of an extra X chromosome
L (return to top)
  Laparoscopy
a procedure conducted under general anesthesia and involving the introduction of a telescope-like instrument through the navel into the pelvis for direct visualization of the pelvic organs
  Laparotomy
a surgical opening of the abdomen
  Leiomyoma
a benign tumor of the uterus; see also Fibroid
  Leydig Cells
the cells in the testicles that make testosterone
  LH Kit
a kit used to detect a surge in luteinizing hormone (LH) which takes place 24 to 36 hours prior to ovulation
  LH Surge
the sudden release of luteinizing hormone (LH) that causes the follicle to release a mature egg (ovulate)
  Lupron
known medically as a GnRH-agonist, Lupron is a commonly used medication in IVF and in the treatment of severe endometriosis or large uterine fibroids. Lupron can be taken either by daily subcutaneous (under the skin) injections or monthly intramuscular depot injections.
  Luteal Phase
the post-ovulatory phase, or second half, of a woman's cycle, in which the corpus luteum produces progesterone, causing the uterine lining to secrete substances to support the implantation and growth of the early embryo or resulting in menstruation absent any implantation
  Luteal Phase Defect (LPH)
inadequate function of the corpus luteum, resulting in insufficient levels of progesterone and the prevention of implantation of an embryo in the uterus or early pregnancy loss
  Luteinized Unruptured Follicle (LUF) syndrome
the failure of a follicle to release the egg even though a corpus luteum has formed
  Luteinizing hormone (LH)
a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland, which, along with FSH, is one of two important hormones that regulate ovarian function; LH triggers ovulation and helps to prepare the endometrial lining for implantation
M (return to top)
  Menarche
the time when a woman has her first menstrual period
  Menopause
the time when a woman stops having menstrual periods
  Menstrual Cycle
the time between menstrual periods; typically 28 days, a menstrual cycle can be longer or shorter
  Miscarriage
spontaneous loss of a pregnancy prior to twenty weeks' gestation
  Motility
the ability of sperm to move and spontaneously propel themselves forward
  Myomectomy
surgical removal of a uterine fibroid tumor
O (return to top)
  Obstetrician-Gynecologist (ObGYN)
a physician specializing in the treatment of pregnancy and female disorders
  Oligomenorrhea
infrequent and irregular menstrual cycles
  Oligospermia
a condition causing male infertility in which fewer than forty million sperm are present in the semen from one ejaculation
  Oocyte
an ovum; the egg before it is released at ovulation
  Ova
the female sex cells, or eggs, which are produced in the ovaries; see also Egg
  Ovarian Cyst
a fluid-containing enlargement of the ovary
  Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS)
enlargement of many ovarian follicles due to fertility drugs, causing gross enlargement of the ovaries
  Ovarian Wedge Resection
surgical removal of a portion of a polycystic ovary to produce ovulation
  Ovary
the female gonad; produces eggs and female hormones
  Ovulation
the release of a mature egg from its developing follicle in the outer layer of the ovary
  Ovulation Induction
a procedure in which medication is administered to stimulate the ovaries to ovulate
P (return to top)
  Pap Smear
removal of cells from the surface of the cervix for purposes of microscopic examination
  Patent
open; for example, fallopian tubes should be patent after a tubal ligation reversal operation
  Pelvic Cavity
the area surrounded by the pelvic bone that contains the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries in women, and the prostate gland and seminal vesicles in men
  Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
inflammation of any of the female upper reproductive tract (uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries), usually due to infection from a sexually transmitted disease
  Penis
the male organ of sexual intercourse
  Pergonal (hMG)
a brand name hMG fertility medication that contains luteinizing and follicle stimulating hormones recovered from the urine of postmenopausal women and used to induce the development of multiple follicles in various fertility treatments
  Pituitary Gland
a small gland present at the base of the brain that receives stimulation by hormones from the hypothalamus to release hormones that regulate various bodily functions, including ovulation in women and sperm production in men
  Placenta
thick mass of tissue attached to the inside a pregnant woman's uterus that provides nourishment to and removes waste from the growing fetus
  Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
a condition in which an excess number of multiple small cysts form on the ovaries, resulting in increased androgen production and anovulation
  Polyp
a growth or tumor on an internal surface, usually benign
  Post-Coital test (PCT)
a test, usually performed up to 12 hours after intercourse, in which a small sample of cervical mucus is examined to evaluate the interaction between a man's sperm and a woman's cervical mucus
  Pre-embryo
a fertilized egg in the early stage of development prior to cell division
  Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD)
a method using DNA analysis to determine genetic information on an embryo before replacement
  Premature Ovarian Failure (POF)
failure of the ovaries to produce estrogen or the depletion of ovarian follicles before the age of 40, resulting in the cessation of ovulation
  Primary Infertility
infertility in a woman who has never had a pregnancy
  Progesterone
a female hormone secreted by the corpus luteum after ovulation during the second half of the menstrual cycle (luteal phase) which prepares the lining of the uterus (endometrium) for implantation of a fertilized egg; also allows for complete shedding of the endometrium at the time of menstruation
  Prolactin
a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland, whose major role is to control milk production, interference with normal ovulation can occur if present in high amounts
  Prostaglandins
a group of hormone-like chemicals that have various effects on reproductive organs; so named because they were first discovered in the prostate gland
  Prostate Gland
the male gland encircling the urethra that produces one third of the fluid in the ejaculate and that helps sperm pass through the urethra
Q (return to top)
  Quantitative beta-HCG Assay
a pregnancy test which measures the level of HCG present in the blood and can be used to detect an early pregnancy
R (return to top)
  Reproductive Endocrinologist
an obstetrician/gynecologist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of infertility
  Reproductive Surgeon
an obstetrician/gynecologist or urologist who specializes in the surgical correction of conditions and disorders that impair reproductive function
  Retrograde Ejaculation
ejaculation backwards into the bladder instead of forward through the urethra
S (return to top)
  Salpingectomy
surgical removal of the fallopian tubes
  Salpingitins Istmica Nodosa
an abnormal condition of the fallopian tube, characterized by nodules where it attaches to the uterus
  Salpingitis
inflammation of one or both fallopian tubes
  Salpingostomy
an incision in a fallopian tube, such as to remove an ectopic pregnancy
  Secondary Infertility
infertility in a woman who has experienced one or more pregnancies
  Semen
the fluid containing sperm and secretions from the testicles, prostate, and seminal vesicles that is expelled during ejaculation
  Semen Analysis
a test that microscopically examines sperm to determine the number of sperm (sperm count), their shapes (morphology), and their ability to move (motility)
  Seminal Vesicles
the paired glands at the base of the bladder that produce and store seminal fluid prior to ejaculation
  Seminiferous Tubules
the network of tubes in the testicles where sperm are formed
  Septate Uterus
the presence of a thick membrane that separates the uterine cavity either partially or completely into two separate cavities, possibly interfering with normal implantation and causing recurrent miscarriages
  Septum
a wall that divides a cavity in half
  Sertoli Cells
the cells in the testicles that provide nourishment to the early sperm cells
  Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD)
a disease caused by an infectious agent transmitted during sex
  Sonogram
see Ultrasound Examination
  Sperm
male sex or reproductive cell (spermatozoa), which is produced in the testes and that fertilizes a woman's egg; the sperm head carries genetic material (chromosomes); the mid-piece produces energy for movement, and the long, thin tail whips back and forth to propel the sperm
  Sperm Bank
a place where sperm are kept frozen in liquid nitrogen for later use in artificial insemination
  Sperm Count
the concentration or density of sperm in ejaculate; usually given as the number
  Sperm donation
a process that involves taking sperm from a fertile man and giving it to an infertile couple to be used in an assisted reproductive technology procedure
  Sperm Penetration Assay (SPA)
a test of the ability of a man's sperm to penetrate a hamster egg stripped of its outer membrane, the zona pellucida; also called the Hamster Test
  Sperm Washing
a procedure used to remove components other than sperm from a semen sample prior to it being used for intrauterine insemination
  Spermicide
an agent that kills sperm
  SQ
abbreviation for subcutaneous; used to describe injections given under the skin
  Sterilization
a surgical procedure (such as tubal ligation or vasectomy) designed to produce infertility
  Sterilization Reversal
a surgical procedure used to undo a previous sterilization operation and restore fertility
  Superovulation
stimulation of multiple ovulation with fertility drugs; also known as controlled ovarian hyperstimulation (COH)
T (return to top)
  Testes
two small organs located at the base of the penis in which sperm are produced
  Testicle
the male gonad; produces sperm and male sex hormones
  Testicular Biopsy
the removal of a fragment of a testicle for examination under the microscope
  Testosterone
the primary male sex hormone that is produced by a man's testes and helps to maintain the production of sperm
  Thyroid Gland
the endocrine gland in the front of the neck that produces thyroid hormones, which regulate the body's metabolism
  Thyroxine (T4)
along with T3, one of the main thyroid hormones; it reflects the activity of the thyroid gland
  Tocolytic
a drug that relaxes smooth muscles and therefore interferes with uterine contractions; frequently used to stop premature labor
  Total Effective Sperm Count
an estimate of the number of sperm in an ejaculate capable of fertilization
  Toxin
a poison produced by a living organism
  Transvaginal Ultrasound Aspiration
an ultrasound-guided technique for egg retrieval, whereby a long, thin needle is passed through the vagina into the ovarian follicle, and suction is applied to retrieve the egg; also known as ultrasound-guided egg aspiration or transvaginal egg retrieval
  TSH
a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland that controls the thyroid gland
  Tubal Embryo Transfer (TET)
a laparoscopic procedure where an embryo is placed directly into the fallopian tube several days following egg retrieval and fertilization
  Tubal Ligation
surgical female sterilization procedure performed by cutting, obstructing, or "tying" the fallopian tubes in order to prevent pregnancy
  Tubal pregnancy
see Ectopic pregnancy
  Tuboplasty
plastic or reconstructive surgery on the fallopian tubes to correct abnormalities that cause infertility
U (return to top)
  Ultrasound Examination
an imaging procedure, performed either abdominally or vaginally, in which high frequency sound waves are used to create an image on a video screen of the internal structures and organs, or in the case of a pregnancy, the fetus; also called a sonogram
  Unexplained Infertility
infertility for which the cause cannot be determined or diagnosed
  Ureaplasma
a microorganism which may cause infection
  Urethra
the narrow tube present in both sexes through which urine from the bladder is eliminated, and in males, through which sperm also travels
  Urologist
a physician who specializes in the surgical treatment of disorders of the urinary tract and male reproductive tract
  Uterine Fibroids
see Fibroid
  Uterine Polyps
abnormal, benign (noncancerous) growths attached to a short stalk that protrudes from the inner surface of a woman's uterus
  Uterus
a hollow, muscular organ present in a woman's pelvis and connected to the vagina by the cervix and to the abdominal cavity by the fallopian tubes in which a fetus develops during a pregnancy; the lining of the uterus (endometrium) produces the monthly menstrual blood flow when there is no pregnancy
V (return to top)
  Vagina
elastic, muscular passageway leading from the cervix to the outside of a woman's body; also called the birth canal
  Vaginitis
inflammation of the vagina, typically caused by bacterial or yeast infections
  Varicocele
an abnormal dilation of the veins surrounding the testicles
  Vas Deferens
a long, narrow tube that transports sperm and testicular fluid from the epididymis to the ejaculatory ducts
  Vasectomy
surgical sterilization of a man by removing a small segment of each vas deferens to prevent sperm from entering the ejaculate
  Vasectomy Reversal
surgical repair of a vasectomy
  Vasogram
an X-ray study of the vas deferens
  Venereal disease
see Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD)
X (return to top)
  X Chromosome-bearing (or X-bearing)
sperm cells that contain the X (female) chromosome and will subsequently result in a female offspring after fertilization
Y (return to top)
  Y Chromosome-bearing (or Y-bearing)
sperm cells that contain the Y (male) chromosome and will subsequently result in a male offspring after fertilization
Z (return to top)
  ZIFT (Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer)
fertilizing eggs and sperm outside of the body and immediately placing them in the fallopian tubes to enhance the chances of pregnancy
  Zona Pellucida
the outer protein coat (shell) of an ovum, which must be penetrated by a sperm cell for fertilization to occur
  Zygote
an egg that has been fertilized but that has not yet divided
 

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"We tried to imagine what it would have meant to us if we had been on the other side [waiting for donor embryos]
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and how dependent we might have been on the generosity of another family. This made embryo donation the right choice for us."
Jennene


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