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Dr. Panayiotis Zavos, World Renowned Reproductive Specialist.


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Glossary

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

A

Abortion
The premature termination of a pregnancy; may be induced or spontaneous (miscarriage)


Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)

A fatal disease caused by a virus that destroys the immune system's ability to fight off infection

Acrosome
The packet of enzymes in a sperm's head that allows the sperm to dissolve a hole in the coating around the egg, which allows the sperm to penetrate and fertilize the egg

Acrosome reaction
A chemical change that enables a sperm to penetrate an egg

Adhesions
Rubbery bands of scar tissue (usually caused by previous infections or surgery) attached to organ surfaces, capable of connecting, covering, or distorting organs such as the fallopian tubes, ovaries, or bowel. Adhesions in the fallopian tubes and ovaries obstruct the movement of sperm and oocytes.


Adrenal glands
The endocrine gland on top of each kidney

Aerobic bacteria
The bacterial organisms that require relatively high concentrations of oxygen to survive and reproduce

Agglutination of sperm
Occurs when sperm clump or stick together often due to infection, inflammation, or antibodies. This may occur when either man or woman develops immunity to the sperm; sometimes this is unexplained.

Amenorrhea
The absence of menstruation

Amniocentesis
The aspiration of amniotic fluid from the uterus, usually performed at three to three and one-half months of pregnancy, to test the fetus for genetic abnormalities


Anaerobic bacteria
Bacterial organisms that survive in relatively low oxygen concentrations

Androgens
Male sex hormones

Andrologist
A specialist who treats sperm problems

Anovulation
The absence of ovulation

Antibody
A blood protein (immunoglobin) produced by white blood cells in response to the presence of a specific foreign substance (antigen) in the body, with which it fights or otherwise interacts. Antibodies to sperm, if present, can impair fertility by causing agglutination of sperm.

Antigen
Any substance that induces the formation of an antibody

Antisperm Antibodies
Antibodies produced by the immune system that mistake sperm for an invading substance and begin attacking them. These antibodies cause sperm to clump together, lose motility or lose the ability to fertilize an egg. They may he produced by either the male or female partner.

Artificial insemination (AI)
The introduction of sperm into a woman's vagina or uterus by noncoital methods, for the purpose of conception. The placement of large numbers of washed and concentrated motile sperm into the female reproductive tract, usually the uterus. (See also intracervical insemination, intrauterine insemination, intratubal insemination

Asthenospermia
Condition in which the sperm do not swim (move) at all or swim more slowly than normal.

Aspiration
Suctioning of fluid, as from a follicle

Asymptomatic
Without any symptoms

Autoantibodies
Antibodies formed against one's own tissues


Autoimmunity
An immune reaction against one's own tissues

Azoospermia
Condition in which there are no sperm in the seminal fluid. This may be due to a blockage of transport of sperm or to an impairment of sperm production.

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B

Bacteria
Microscopic, single-celled organisms that can cause infections of the genital tract

Basal body temperature (BBT)
A woman's resting temperature upon awakening in the morning before any activity; the temperature rises slightly when ovulation occurs and remains at the higher level until the next menstruation. Recording and charting BBT is one of the oldest and most popular methods for predicting ovulation.

Biopsy
A fragment of tissue removed for study under the microscope

Blastocyst
A fluid-filled sphere of cells developed from a zygote. The embryo develops from a small cluster of cells in the center of the sphere, and the outer wall of the sphere becomes the placenta. The blastocyst, also called a preimplantation embryo, begins to implant into the lining of the uterus 6 to 7 days after fertilization.

Blood-testis barrier
The barrier that separates sperm from the bloodstream


Bromocriptine (Parlodel)
A synthetic compound that interferes with the pituitary gland's ability to secrete prolactin. Bromocriptine is often prescribed for hyperprolactinemia.

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C

Cannula
a hollow tube used, for example, to inseminate sperm artificially

Capacitation
The process by which sperm become capable of fertilizing an egg

Catheter
A flexible tube used for aspirating or injecting fluids

Cauterize
To destroy tissue with heat, cold, or caustic substances usually to seal off blood vessels or ducts

Centrifuge
High-speed spinning device used during the processing and washing of sperm for artificial insemination or ART procedures. Separates sperm from the semen using centrifugal force.

Cervix
The lower portion of the uterus that opens into the vagina

Cervical mucus
Mucus produced by the cervix that undergoes complex changes in its physical properties in response to changing hormone levels during the reproductive cycle. These changes assist the survival and transport of sperm.

Cervicitis
Inflammation of the cervix


Chlamydia
An STD caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis, which is frequently transmitted sexually between partners. In women, chlamydial infection accounts for 25 to 50 percent of the pelvic inflammatory disease cases seen each year. Chlamydia is the most common STD in the United States today.

Chorionic villus sampling (CVS)
taking a biopsy of the placenta, usually at the end of the second month of pregnancy, to test the fetus for genetic abnormalities

Chromosomal abnormalities
Genetic mutations involving changes in the number and structure of chromosomes. This can affect fertility through early fetal loss caused by genetic factors, impairment in the reproductive function in an adult caused by chromosomal abnormalities already present, or by genetic predisposition toward certain diseases, such as endometriosis.

Chromosome
A rod-shaped body in a cell nucleus that carries the genes that convey hereditary characteristics.

Cleavage
The stage of cell division that takes place immediately after fertilization and that lasts until the cells begin to segregate and differentiate and to develop into a blastocyst.

Clomiphene citrate (CC) (Clomid, Serophene)
A fertility pill that stimulates ovulation through release of gonadotropins from the pituitary gland. CC is a commonly prescribed fertility drug, primarily used in patients with oligomenorrhea to promote increased gonadotropin secretion and stimulation of the ovary.

Colposcopy
Examination of the cervix through a magnifying telescope to detect abnormal cells


Conceptus
The mass of cells resulting from the earliest stages of cell division of a zygote.

Condom
A latex (rubber) device that fits over the penis to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections

Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia

Condition that one is born with due to the lack of an enzyme needed by the adrenal gland. Normal products of the adrenal gland, therefore, are not produced; the body tries to stimulate the gland, and it enlarges (hyperplasia).

Congenital defect

A birth defect.

Conization
Surgical removal of a cone-shaped portion of the cervix, usually as a treatment for a precancerous condition

Contraindication

A reason not to use a particular drug or treatment

Controlled Ovarian Hyperstimulation

Stimulation of the ovaries with various hormonal medications to develop as many ovarian follicles as possible and to control the timing of ovulation for egg recovery.

Corpus luteum
A gland that forms on the surface of the ovary at the site of ovulation and produces progesterone during the second half of the menstrual cycle, in order to prepare the uterus for a possible pregnancy. The corpus luteum regresses if pregnancy does not occur.

Cryocautery
Cautery by freezing

Cryopreservation
The preservation of sperm, embryos, and oocytes by freezing them at extremely low temperatures. Cryopreserved embryos can he thawed and used in future cycles.

Cryptorchidism
Undescended testes. Failure of one or both testicles to descend into the scrotum. Occurs when a testis is not in its normal position in the scrotum. It may he in the groin or abdomen.

Cul-de-sac
Pouch located at the bottom of the abdominal cavity between the uterus and rectum

Culdoscopy
Examination of the internal female pelvic organs through an incision in the vagina

Cyst
A sac filled with fluid

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D

Danazol (Danocrine)
A synthetic androgen frequently prescribed for endometriosis

Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)
The combination of amino acids in the cell's nucleus that make up the chromosomes, which transmit hereditary characteristics

Diethylstilbestrol (DES)
A synthetic estrogen (originally prescribed to prevent miscarriage) that caused malformations of the reproductive organs in some who were exposed to the drug during fetal development

Dilatation and curettage (D&C)
An operation that involves stretching the cervical opening to scrape out the uterus

Donor gametes
Eggs or sperm donated by individuals for medically assisted conception.


Donor insemination
Artificial insemination with donor sperm

Dysfunction
Abnormal function

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E

Ectopic pregnancy
pregnancy located outside of the uterus, most commonly in a fallopian tube

Egg (ovum)
the female reproductive cell

Egg donation
donation of an egg by one woman to another who attempts to become pregnant by in vitro fertilization

Ejaculate
the sperm-containing fluid released at orgasm

Ejaculation
A two-part spinal reflex that involves emission, when the semen moves into the urethra, and ejaculation proper, when it is propelled out of the urethra at the time of orgasm.

Ejaculatory ducts
the male ducts that contract with orgasm to cause ejaculation

Electroejaculation
Electrical stimulation of the nerve that controls ejaculation, used to obtain semen from men with spinal cord injuries.

Embryo
Term used to describe the stages of growth from the second to the ninth week following conception. During this period cell differentiation proceeds rapidly and the brain, eyes, heart, upper and lower limbs, and other organs are formed.

Embryo donation
The transfer from one woman to another of an embryo obtained by artificial insemination and lavage or, more commonly, by IVF.

Embryologist
A specialist in embryo development

Embryo transfer
The transfer of an in vitro fertilized egg from its laboratory dish into the uterus of a woman.

Endocrine gland
An organ that produces hormones

Endometrial biopsy
The microscopic examination of a sample of cells, obtained from the lining of the uterus between days 22 and 25 of a normal 28 day menstrual cycle, in order to evaluate ovulatory function.

Endometrioma
A special type of ovarian cyst that is chocolate in color and contains endometrial cells that grow and bleed during menstruation

Endometriosis
The presence of endometrial tissue (the normal uterine lining) in locations outside the uterus such as the fallopian tubes, ovaries, or the peritoneal cavity. Endometriosis can interfere with nearly every phase of the reproductive cycle and is a leading contributor to infertility in women. The causes and development of endometriosis are incompletely understood.

Endometrium
The inner tissue lining the uterus.

Epididymis
A coiled tubular structure in the male that receives sperm moving from the testis to the vas deferens. Sperm are stored and matured for a period of several weeks in the epididymis. Sperm acquire motility within the epididymis.


Epididymitis
Infection of the epididymis, usually from an STD, such as gonorrhea, that can impair fertility during the course of the infection, as well as causing scarring that can partially or completely block sperm transport.

Estradiol
The principal estrogen produced by the ovary

Estrogen
A class of steroid hormones, produced mainly by the ovaries from puberty to menopause.

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F


Fallopian tube
Either of a pair of tubes that pick up the egg from the ovary and conducts it to the uterus. Fertilization normally occurs within this structure. Blocked or scarred fallopian tubes are a leading source of infertility in women.

Fecundability
the ability to become pregnant

Fertility drugs
Compounds used to treat ovulatory dysfunction. These include clomiphene citrate, human gonadotropins, bromocriptine, glucocorticoids, and progesterone.

Fertilization
The penetration of an oocyte by a sperm and subsequent combining (fusion) of maternal and paternal DNA.

Fetus
The embryo becomes a fetus after approximately 9 weeks in the uterus. This stage of development lasts from 9 weeks until birth and is marked by the growth and specialization of organ function.

Fibroid (myoma or leiomyoma)

a benign tumor of the uterine muscle and connective tissue.

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
A surgical procedure to correct a damaged or blocked fallopian tube.

Follicle
The structure on the ovary surface that nurtures a ripening oocyte. At ovulation the follicle ruptures and the oocyte is released. The follicle produces estrogen until the oocyte is released, after which it becomes a yellowish protrusion on the ovary called the corpus luteum.

Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH)

The pituitary hormone that stimulates follicle growth in women and sperm formation in men

Follicular phase
the pre-ovulatory phase of a woman's cycle during which the follicle grows and high estrogen levels cause the uterine lining to proliferate

Fructose
Produced by the seminal vesicles, the sugar that sperm use for energy

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G


Gamete
A reproductive cell. In a man, the gametes are sperm; in a woman, they are eggs, or ova.

Gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT)

A technique of medically assisted conception in which mature oocytes are surgically removed from a woman's body and then reintroduced, together with sperm, through a catheter into the fallopian tubes, where it is hoped fertilization will take place.

Gardnerella
A bacteria that may cause a vaginal infection

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

GIFT
See Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer

Gland
An organ that produces and secretes essential body fluids or substances, such as hormones

Glucocorticoids
Hormones naturally produced by the adrenal glands. Synthetic glucocorticoids are used to treat ovulatory dysfunction caused by adrenal disorders.

Gonads
Organs that produce the sex cells and sex hormones; testes in men and ovaries in women .

Gonadotropin
Hormone that stimulates the testes or ovaries. Examples are follicle-stimulating hormone, human chorionic gonadotropin, human menopausal gonadotropin, and luteinizing hormone. These can be administered in cases of ovulatory dysfunction to directly stimulate the ovary.

Gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH)

The hormone released from the hypothalamus that causes secretion of gonadotropins from the pituitary gland.

Gonorrhea
An STD caused by the bacteria Nesseria gonorrhea. If the infection is not treated in women, it can spread to the uterus and the fallopian tubes, causing PID. In men, it can cause epididymitis and can affect semen quality.

Granuloma
A ball of inflamed tissue, commonly formed after vasectomy due to sperm leaking from the vas deferens

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H

Habitual abortion
Repeat miscarriages

Hamster oocyte penetration test

A test that evaluates the ability of human sperm to penetrate an ovum by incubating sperm with hamster oocytes that have had their outer layer removed. Normal sperm will penetrate the eggs. The reliability and significance of this test are controversial. Also called Hamster Zona-Free Ovum (HZFO) Test or Sperm Penetration Assay (SPA)

Hematospermia
Condition in which blood appears in the semen and can usually he seen by the naked eye.

Hemizona assay (HZA)
A laboratory test of the ability of sperm to penetrate into a human egg; first the egg is split in half, then one half is tested against the husband's sperm and the other half against sperm from a fertile man

Hirsutism
Excessive hair growth

Hormone
a substance, produced by an endocrine gland, that travels through the bloodstream to a specific organ, where it exerts its effect

Host uterus procedure
a woman carries to term a pregnancy produced by an infertile couple through in vitro fertilization

Hostile mucus
cervical mucus that impedes the natural progress of sperm through the cervical canal

Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)

A hormone secreted by the embryo that maintains the corpus luteum to produce progesterone when pregnancy occurs. This hormone can be extracted from the urine of pregnant women and can be injected to stimulate ovulation and progesterone production.

Human menopausal gonadotropin (hMG)
Hormone that can be extracted from the urine of menopausal women and injected to stimulate ovaries and testes. See Pergonal

Hydrotubation
injection of fluid, often into the fallopian tubes to determine if they are open

Hyperandrogenism
excessive production of androgens in women, frequently a cause of hirsutism and also associated with polycystic ovarian disease (PCOD)

Hyperprolactinemia
Excessive prolactin in the blood. The overproduction of the pituitary hormone prolactin, which can contribute to infertility. The causes of this condition are diverse and poorly understood. It can be treated with bromocriptine.

Hyperstimulation
excessive stimulation of the ovaries that can cause them to become enlarged

Hypothalamus
A structure at the base of the brain that controls (among other things) the action of the pituitary gland. By secreting and releasing hormones, the hypothalamus orchestrates the body's reproductive function in both men and women. The endocrine gland at the center of the brain that produces gonadotropin releasing hormone and controls pituitary function

Hypothyroidism
Underactivity of the thyroid gland

Hysterectomy
Surgical removal of the uterus

Hysteroscopy
Examination of the inner cavity of the uterus through a fiber optic telescope inserted through the vagina and cervical canal

Hysterosalpingogram (HSG)
An x-ray study of the female reproductive tract in which dye is injected into the uterus while x rays are taken showing the outline of the uterus and the degree of openness of the fallopian tubes.

Hysteroscopy
Direct visualization of the interior of the uterus in order to evaluate any abnormalities that may be present. This is done by inserting a hysteroscope (a long, narrow, illuminated tube) through the cervix into the expanded uterus. Surgical procedures may also be performed using this method.

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I

Iatrogenic
Resulting from the action of physicians. The term is commonly applied to diseases or disabilities caused by medical care.

Idiopathic
Of unknown origin.

Idiopathic Infertility
Occurs when no cause of infertility can he identified in either partner, yet pregnancy does not ensue.

Immune system
the body's defense against any injury or invasion by a foreign substance or organism

Immunologic Infertility
Cause of infertility where either partner may he producing antibodies. Treatment options will depend on the type of antibodies present and on whether the female or male is producing them.

Immunoglobulins
A class of proteins endowed with antibody activity; antibodies

Immunosuppressive drug
A drug that interferes with the normal immune response

Immunotherapy
A medical treatment for an immune system disorder that involves transfusing donor white blood cells into a woman who has had recurrent miscarriages

Impaired fecundity
Categorization of infertility used by demographers to describe couples who are non-surgically sterile, or for whom it would be difficult or dangerous to have a baby.

Implantation
The process by which the fertilized oocyte (zygote) becomes attached to the wall of the uterus (endometrium), usually occurring five to seven days after ovulation

Impotence
The complete or partial inability of a man to achieve or maintain an erection.

Incompetent cervix

Cervix with the inability to remain closed throughout an entire pregnancy; a frequent cause of premature birth

Infertility
Inability of a couple to conceive after 12 months of intercourse without contraception.

Inflammation
a response to some type of injury such as infection, characterized by increased blood flow, heat, redness, swelling, and pain

Intracervical insemination (ICI)
Artificial insemination technique in which sperm are placed in or near the cervical canal of the female reproductive tract, using a syringe or a catheter, for the purpose of conception.

Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)
Direct injection of a single sperm into an egg

Intraperitoneal insemination

An artificial insemination technique in which sperm are introduced into the body cavity between the uterus and the rectum, after ovulation has been induced, for the purpose of conception.

Intratubal insemination (ITI)

Artificial insemination of sperm, which have been washed free of seminal fluid, into the fallopian tubes

Intrauterine device (IUD)
Contraceptive device inserted through the cervix into the uterine cavity.

Intrauterine insemination (IUI)
Artificial insemination technique in which sperm, which have been washed free of seminal fluid, are deposited directly in the uterine cavity.

In utero
while in the uterus during early development

In vitro
Literally "in glass"; pertaining to a biological process or reaction taking place in an artificial environment, usually a laboratory.

In vitro fertilization (IVF)
A technique of medically assisted conception (sometimes referred to as "test tube" fertilization) in which mature oocytes are removed from a woman's ovary and fertilized with sperm in a laboratory. (See embryo transfer.)

In vivo
Literally "in the living"; pertaining to a biological process or reaction taking place in a living cell or organism.

In vivo fertilization
The fertilization of an egg by a sperm within a woman's body. The sperm may be introduced by artificial insemination or by coitus.

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J


K

Karyotype
A photographic display or analysis of an individual's chromosomes that shows the number, size, and shape of each chromosome.

Klinefelter's syndrome
A chromosome abnormality that prevents normal male sexual development and causes irreversible infertility due to the presence of an extra female (X) chromosome

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L

Laparoscopy
Direct visualization of the ovaries and the exterior of the fallopian tubes and uterus by means of a laparoscope (a long, narrow, illuminated instrument) introduced through a small surgical incision below the navel, to evaluate any abnormalities. Surgical procedures may also be performed using this method.

Laparotomy
A surgical incision through the abdominal wall, larger than that used in a laparoscopy, to allow visualization of reproductive structures for evaluation or surgery.

Leiomyoma (fibroid)
a benign tumor of the uterus

Leydig cells
the cells in the testicles that make testosterone

LH surge
the sudden release of luteinizing hormone (LH) that causes the follicle to release a mature egg

Luteal phase
post-ovulatory phase of a woman's cycle; the corpus luteum produces progesterone, which in turn causes the uterine lining to secrete substances to support the implantation and growth of the early embryo

Luteal phase defect (LPD)
Failure of the endometrial lining of the uterus to develop properly after ovulation, due to inadequate function of the corpus luteum that may prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus or may lead to early pregnancy loss. This condition can be treated with progesterone.

Luteinized Unruptured Follicle (LUF) syndrome

the failure of a follicle to release the egg even though a corpus luteum has formed

Luteinizing hormone (LH)
the pituitary hormone that along with FSH causes the testicles in men and ovaries in women to manufacture sex hormones

Luteinizing hormone releasing hormone (LH-RH)
A hormone secreted by the hypothalamus that acts on the pituitary to promote secretions of gonadotropins that in turn direct hormone and gamete production by the ovaries and testes.

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M

Medium
Chemical substance or solution used to support the growth of cells (e.g., fertilized eggs).

Menarche
the time when a woman has her first menstrual period

Menopause
The cessation of the menstrual cycle, which occurs when the ovary is virtually depleted of oocytes.

Menstrual cycle
The process of ovulation in which an oocyte matures each month in a follicle produced on the surface of the ovary. At ovulation, the follicle ruptures and the oocyte is released into the body cavity and enters the fallopian tube. If fertilization and implantation do not occur, the uterine lining is sloughed off, producing menstrual flow. The normal menstrual cycle is about 28 days.

Metrodin(Pure FSH)
an injectable drug consisting of pure follicle stimulating hormone used to stimulate ovulation

Microsurgery
Fine, delicate surgical procedures performed with the aid of a microscope or other magnifying apparatus. In cases of infertility, microsurgery is used to repair fallopian tubes in women and blockages of the reproductive tract in men.

Miscarriage
Spontaneous abortion

Morphology
The study of form, such as assessing the shape of sperm during semen analysis

Motility
Motion, such as the forward swimming motion of health sperm

Mucus
Secretion from a gland that can be watery, gel-like, stretchy, sticky or dry; fertile mucus is watery and stretchy

Mycoplasma
An infectious agent that falls structurally between a virus and a bacterium. A microorganism similar to bacteria, but lacking a rigid cell wall. Mycoplasma is associated with reproductive tract infections.

Myomectomy
surgical removal of a uterine fibroid tumor

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N

Necrospermia
Condition in which an abundance of dead sperm are found in the semen. However, sperm that are not moving are not always dead. Special stains have to be used to make this diagnosis.

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O

Obstetrician-gynecologist (Ob-Gyn)

A physician who specializes in the treatment of female disorders and pregnancy

Oligomenorrhea
Scanty or infrequent menstruation, a problem found in about 20 percent of infertile women.

Oligospermia
Condition in which the number of sperm in a semen sample is abnormally low.

Oocyte (Egg)
Also referred to as an ovum, or the reproductive cell produced in the ovaries each month.

Oocyte donor
A woman who donates an ovum or ova to another woman.

Ovarian cyst
a fluid-containing enlargement of the ovary

Ovarian Failure
Inability of the ovaries to respond to any hormonal stimulation, often due to a postmenopausal condition.

Ovarian wedge resection
surgical removal of a portion of a polycystic ovary to produce ovulation

Ovaries
Paired female sex glands in which ova are developed and stored and the hormones estrogen and progesterone are produced.

Oviduct
Fallopian tube.

Ovulation
The release of an oocyte from a woman's ovary, generally around the midpoint of the menstrual cycle.

Ovulation induction
Treatment of ovulation dysfunction caused by such disorders as amenorrhea, oligomenorrhea, and LPD, using drugs that induce ovulation. These so~called fertility drugs include CC and gonadotropins. Ovulation induction is also used as part of the Al, IVF, and GIFT techniques.

Ovulation prediction kits
Over-the-counter hormone monitoring kits that employ the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay procedure to measure the mid-cycle increase in LH that indicates ovulation is taking place.

Ovum
The female egg or oocyte, formed in an ovary.

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P

Pap smear
Removal of cells from the surface of the cervix to study microscopically

Parlodel
See Bromocriptine

Patent
Open; for example, fallopian tubes should be patent after a sterilization 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)
Inflammatory disease of the pelvis, often caused by an untreated STD. Bacteria that cause gonorrhea, chlamydia, or other infections can ascend from the lower genital tract through the endometrium (causing endometriosis), to the fallopian tubes (causing salpingitis), and possibly to the ovaries (causing oophritis).

Penetrak
A test of how fast sperm can travel up through cow mucus

Penis
The male organ of sexual intercourse

Pergonal (hMG)
The luteinizing and follicle stimulating hormones recovered from the urine of postmenopausal women that is used to induce multiple ovulation in various fertility treatments

Pituitary gland
The endocrine gland at the base of the brain that produces the gonadotropin luteinizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormone, which in turn stimulate the gonads to produce sex cells and hormones

Polycystic ovarian disease/syndrome (PCOD/PCOS)
A disease of the ovaries caused by malfunction of the hormonal system that results in ovaries clogged with cysts, making ovulation almost impossible. This is characterized by multiple ovarian cysts and increased androgen production.

Polyp
A growth or tumor on an internal surface, usually benign.

Post-coital test
Microscopic analysis of cervical mucus within a few hours of timed intercourse in order to observe and evaluate the interaction of sperm, semen, and cervical mucus. The oldest and most widely practiced postcoital test is the Sims -Huhner test.

Pre-embryo
A fertilized egg in the early stage of development prior to cell division

Preovulation
The first 14 days of a woman's menstrual cycle, when estrogen levels are rising before ovulation takes place.

Primary infertility
Infertility in those who have never had children.

Progesterone
The female hormone, produced by the corpus luteum after ovulation, that prepares the uterine lining for implantation of a fertilized egg and helps maintain the pregnancy

Prolactin
A hormone secreted by the pituitary that stimulates breast milk production and supports gonadal function.

Prostate gland
The male gland encircling the urethra that produces one third of the fluid in the ejaculate

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

Pyospermia
Condition in which the presence of white cells in the semen indicates possible infection and/or inflammation.

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Q


R

Reproductive endocrinologist
An Ob-Gyn who specializes in the treatment of hormonal disorders that affect reproductive function

Reproductive surgeon
An Ob-Gyn or urologist who specializes in the surgical correction of anatomical disorders that impair reproductive function

Retrograde Ejaculation
Ejaculation of seminal fluid backward into the bladder instead of forward through the urethra.

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S

Salpingectomy
Surgical removal of the fallopian tubes

Salpingitis
Inflammation of one or both of the fallopian tubes, sometimes caused by PID.

Salpingitis isthmica nodosa
an abnormal condition of the fallopian tube where it attaches to the uterus, characterized by nodules

Salpingostomy
A surgical attempt to recreate the normal fallopian opening and fimbria function in cases of complete occlusion of the fallopian tubes. An incision in a fallopian tube, such as to remove an ectopic pregnancy.

Salpingotomy
an operation to open a blocked fallopian

Scrotum
the sac containing the testicles, epididymis, and vas deferens

Secondary infertility
Infertility in those who have previously been fertile.

Semen
A fluid consisting of secretions from the male's seminal vesicles, prostate, and from the glands adjacent to the urethra. Semen carries sperm and is ejaculated during intercourse. Only a small part of the visible ejaculate (semen) comes from the testicle.

Semen analysis
Evaluation of the basic characteristics of sperm and semen, such as appearance, volume, liquefaction and viscosity, and sperm concentration and motility. The presence of bacterial infection and immunological disorders can also be determined by semen analysis. It is the fundamental diagnostic method used to evaluate male infertility.

Seminal Vesicles
Two pouch-like glands located above the prostate that produce seminal fluid and fructose, which make up the majority of fluid expelled during ejaculation.

Seminiferous tubules
The network of tubes where sperm are formed in the testis.

Septum
A wall that divides a cavity in half, such as a uterine septum

Sertoli cells
The cells in the testicles that provide nourishment to the early sperm cells

Sexual dysfunction
The inability to achieve normal sexual intercourse for reasons such as impotence, premature ejaculation, and retrograde ejaculation in the man or of vaginismus in the woman.

Sexually transmitted diseases (STD's)
Infectious diseases transmitted primarily by sexual contact, including syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes, and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.

Sperm
The male reproductive cell, or gamete. Normal sperm have symmetrically oval heads, stout midsections, and long tapering tails.

Sperm bank
A place in which sperm are stored by cryopreservation in liquid nitrogen for future use in artificial insemination.

Sperm count
The number of sperm in the ejaculate (when given as the number of sperm per milliliter it is more accurately known as the sperm concentration or sperm density)

Sperm penetration assay (SPA)
see Hamster test

Sperm preparation
The separation of viable sperm from the overall sperm population of an ejaculate for the purposes for intrauterine inseminations and ART procedures.

Spermicide
an agent that kills sperm

Sperm motility
The ability of a sperm to move normally.

Sperm washing
The dilution of a semen sample with various tissue culture media in order to separate viable sperm from the other components of semen. (See Sperm Preparation)

Spinal cord injuries
Injury to the spinal cord causes fertility problems in paraplegic and quadriplegic men, although not generally in women. Because of these conditions sperm quantity and quality may be decreased, there may be erection and ejaculation dysfunction, and infections of the reproductive tract may occur.

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)

Surrogate mother
a woman who becomes artificially inseminated with a man's sperm and carries the pregnancy for an infertile couple (the man being the biological father of the child), with the intention of relinquishing the child at birth.

Surrogate gestational mother
A woman who gestates and carries to term an embryo to which she is not genetically related, with the intention of relinquishing the child at birth.

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T

Testes
Also known as the testicles, the paired male sex glands in which sperm and the steroid hormone testosterone are produced.

Testicle
the male gonad; produces sperm and male sex hormones

Testicular biopsy
The excision of a small sample of testicular tissue for microscopic evaluation to determine sperm production.

Testicular Torsion
Condition in which the testicle twists on itself, cutting off its own blood supply; it occurs most commonly in adolescents. Surgical correction is necessary as soon as possible to save the testicle. It is associated with excruciating testicular pain.

Testicular Failure
Occurs when the testes do not produce a normal number of mature sperm and when the hormones needed for normal sperm production (LH, FSH) are abnormally elevated.

Testosterone
The primary male sex hormone. A steroid hormone, or androgen, produced in the testes that affects sperm production and male sex characteristics.

Thyroid gland
the endocrine gland in the front of the neck that produces thyroid hormones, which regulate the body's metabolism

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; total sperm count X percent motility X percent forward progressive motility X percent normal morphology

Toxin
a poison produced by a living organism, such as by some bacteria

Tubal ligation
The sterilization of a woman by surgical excision of a small section of each fallopian tube.

Tuboplasty
plastic or reconstructive surgery on the fallopian tubes to correct abnormalities that cause infertility

Tumor
an abnormal growth of tissue that can be benign or malignant (cancerous)

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U

Ultrasound (US)
The use of high-frequency sound waves focused on the body to obtain a video image of internal tissues, organs, and structures. Ultrasound is particularly useful for in utero examinations of a developing fetus, for evaluation of the development of ovarian follicles, and for the guided retrieval of oocytes for IVF and GIFT

Ureaplasma
A microorganism similar to Mycoplasma

Urethra
The tube through which urine from the bladder is expelled

Urologist
A physician who specializes in the surgical treatment of disorders of the urinary tract and male reproductive tract

Uterus
The womb; female reproductive organ that nourishes the fetus until birth

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V

Vagina
The female organ of sexual intercourse; the birth canal

Vaginismus
Involuntary contraction of the muscles around the outer third of the vagina, prohibiting penile entry.

Vaginitis
Inflammation of the vagina

Varicocele
An abnormal twisting or dilation of the vein that carries blood from the testes back to the heart; a varicose vein of the testis. Blood flows in an abnormal direction in these veins toward the testicle rather than the normal direction, which is always toward the heart. Elevated scrotal heat results. It occurs most commonly on the left side.

Vas deferens
The convoluted duct that carries sperm from the testis to the ejaculatory duct of the penis. Tubal structure that connects the epididymis with the seminal vesicles. Vasectomy
Sterilization of a man by surgical excision of a part of the vas deferens.

Vasectomy reversal
Surgical repair of a previous vasectomy for a man who wants to regain his fertility

Vasography
An x-ray examination of the vas deferens by injection of dye through a small incision. X rays are taken giving an outline of the sperm transport system.

Venereal disease
See Sexually transmitted diseases (STD)

Viable
Capable of living.

Virus
A microscopic infectious organism that reproduces inside living cells

Viscosity
Thickness of the semen

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WXY


Z

Zona pellucida
The protective coating surrounding the egg

Zygote
A fertilized oocyte formed by the fusion of egg and sperm, containing DNA from both.

Zygote Intra Fallopian transfer (ZIFT)
In vitro fertilization with a transfer of the zygote into the fallopian tube; a combination of in vitro fertilization (IVF) and gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT).

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List of abbreviations

AI

Artificial insemination

ASA

Antisperm antibodies

BBT

Basal body temperature

CC

Clomiphene citrate

CMV

Cytomegalovirus

COH

Controlled ovarian hyperstimulation

E2

estradiol

FSH

Follicle stimulating hormone

GIFT

Gamete intrafallopian transfer

GnRH

Gonadotropin releasing hormone

hCG

Human chorionic gonadotropin

HIV

Human immunodeficiency virus

HMG

Human menopausal gonadotropin

HSG

Hysterosalpingogram

ICSI

Intracytoplasmic sperm injection

IUI

Intrauterine insemination

IVF

In-vitro fertilization

LH

Luteinizing hormone

LH-RH

Luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone

LUF

Luteinized unruptured follicle syndrome

MESA

Microsurgical epididymal sperm aspiration

OHSS

Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome

PCOS

Polycystic ovarian syndrome

PCT

Post-coital test

PESA

Percutaneous epididymal sperm aspiration

PID

Pelvic inflammatory disease

PZD

Partial zona dissection

ROS

Reactive oxygen species

ROSI

Round spermatid injection

SPA

Sperm penetration assay

STD

Sexually transmitted disease

SUZI

Subzonal sperm injection

TEFNA

Testicular fine needle aspiration

TESE

Testicular sperm extraction

TID

Therapeutic insemination with donor

WBC

White blood cell

ZIFT

Zygote intrafallopian transfer