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Glossary

 

Abnormal Uterine Bleeding:
Heavy and frequent menses leading to deterioration of quality of life and often to anemia

Adhesions:
Scar tissue around the organs

Amenorrhea:
Lack of menstrual cycle which is associated with lack of ovulation

Andrology:
Medical discipline dealing with male infertility and sexual dysfunctions.

Anovulation:
Disorder of the menstrual cycle in which the woman’s ovaries do not release an egg for fertilization every month. The condition affects between 6% and 15% of all women of childbearing age.

Artificial insemination:
See donor insemination (DI)

Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART):
Fertility procedures in which eggs and/or sperm are handled in the laboratory to establish a pregnancy.

Bladder:
Organ in the lower abdomen that stores urine

Cancer:
Disease caused by the growth of malignant cells

Catheter:
Plastic tube used for medical procedures

Cervical mucous:
A viscous fluid secreted by glands in and around the cervix that prevents bacteria and sperm from entering the uterus. However, at midcycle, under the influence of estrogen, the mucous becomes less thick and sperm can penetrate the cervix and go toward the egg to fertilize it

Cervix:
Lower, narrow opening of the uterus

Clomiphene citrate:

Clomiphene challenge test:

Controlled Ovarian Stimulation:
See ovulation induction

Cryopreservation:
Freezing

Donor insemination:
see DI in Fertility Treatments

Ectopic pregnancy:
Pregnancy outside of the uterus (frequently in the fallopian tubes). This is a serious condition, which requires immediate medical attention and possible surgery.

Egg:
the female reproductive cell (also called oocyte or ovum)

Ejaculate:
Seminal fluid that is expelled from the penis during orgasm

Embryo:
a fertilized egg in the early stages of development

Embryo transfer:

Embryologist:
A scientist specialized in human embryos

Endocrinology:
Medical discipline that deals with hormones and hormonal disorders

Endometriosis:
Chronic, disease affecting approximately 10% of women worldwide in which the cells normally growing inside the uterus start to also outside the uterus, particularly in the pelvic cavity, around the fallopian tubes and on the ovaries. Common symptoms are pain and infertility.

Epididymis:
Structure attached to the rear upper surface of each testicle, consisting mainly of the sperm ducts of the testicles.

Estradiol
The main form of estrogen produced by the ovaries, and the most efficient and potent estrogen

Estrogen:
Hormone mainly produced in the ovaries that primarily regulates the growth development and function of the female reproductive system.

Fallopian tubes:
Pair of tubes found in females through which eggs pass in their journey from the ovary to the uterus.

Fertilization:
The fusion of a male sperm cell and female egg cell to form the first cell of a new individual.

Fibroids:
Benign (not cancerous) tumours that grow inside the uterus that can interfere with fertility or pregnancy.

Follicle:
A sac-like structure in the ovary containing a single egg.

Frozen embryo transfer:
Frozen embryos that have been subsequently thawed and transferred into the womb according to a specific protocol

FSH:
Hormone that stimulates egg and sperm development.

GnRH:
Hormone produced by a part of the brain called Hypothalamus to stimulate the pituitary gland to secrete LH and FSH hormones.

GnRH agonist/antagonist:
Medications used to stop ovulation, which block the action of GnRH hormone preventing the release of FSH and LH.

Gonadotropins:
Hormones (LH andFSH) that stimulate the ovaries and the testicles.

Gynecology:
Medicine discipline that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the female reproductive system.

hCG:
Chorionic gonadotropin or hCG is a hormone produced by the placenta in pregnant women. It is extracted from urine of pregnant women or produced synthetically and used in fertility treatments to induce ovulation.

Hormone:
Chemical messenger produced by one tissue and conveyed by the bloodstream to another to exert a specific effect.

Hyperplasia:
Abnormal increase in the number of cells of a tissue or of an organ with consequent enlargement.

Hysteroscopic surgery or hysteroscopy:

Hysterosalpingogram or HSG:
is an X-ray test, which takes pictures of the uterine cavity and the fallopian tubes to reveal any abnormalities.

Hysterectomy:
Surgical removal of the uterus

Infertility:
The inability to initiate a pregnancy after one year of unprotected intercourse.

Insulin:
The hormone that regulates the use of sugars.

Intrauterine insemination:
see IUI under Fertility Treatments

In Vitro Fertilization:
see IVF in Fertility Treatments

Laparoscopy or Laparoscopic Laser Surgery:

Laser:
A device that can perform delicate surgeries using a powerful light beam, which produces heat

LH:
Hormone that stimulates egg and sperm development and triggers ovulation*

Male factor infertility:

Metformin:
Metformin is an antidiabetic drug that can lower blood sugar levels. It is also used in the treatment of women affected by polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a disease characterized by high insulin level leading to increased male hormones production and irregular or absent ovulation. Metformin can improve hirsutism, induce ovulation and normalize menstrual cycles.
Side effects include gastrointestinal upset, loose stools and frequent bowel movements.

Miscarriage:
Pregnancy loss during first trimester or early second trimester

Multiple pregnancies:

Ovary:
Female reproductive organ that produces eggs

Ovarian cyst:
A sac full of fluid in the ovary larger than two centimeters

Ovarian follicle:
A sac-like structure in the ovary containing a single egg

Ovarian Stimulation:
see OI in Fertility Treatments

Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS):

Ovarian reserve:

Ovulation:
The release of a mature egg from the ovary

Ovulation induction:
see OI in Fertility Treatments

Pelvic pain:
Pain in the pelvic area, which is below the bellybutton and between the hips

Pelvic inflammation disease (PID):
Often associated with sexually transmitted diseases, is an acute infection in the organs of the pelvis such as uterus, ovary and tubes. Can cause serious illness and needs to be treated promptly. Long-term consequences include infertility, pelvic pain and ectopic pregnancy.

Polyps:
Benign tumors. Depending on size and location, they can interfere with pregnancy

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS):
Polycystic ovary syndrome, endocrine disorder of the reproductive system affecting regulation of menstrual cycle and ovulation

Pituitary Gland:
Tiny gland in the brain that secretes LH and FSH

Premature menopause:
Permanent cessation of menstrual cycles before age 40

Progesterone:
Hormone mainly produced by the ovaries and the placenta that prepares the wombs for pregnancy, maintains pregnancy and promotes development of mammary glands.

Reproduction:
Biological process by which organisms create new individuals of the same kind

Reproductive endocrinology:
Is the study of hormones and hormonal disorders related to reproduction

Reproductive endocrinologist:
Physician specialized in treating people with reproductive hormonal disorders

Sedation:
Administration of calming and tranquilizing drugs to reduce stress and anxiety during a medical procedure

Sexual intercourse:
a sexual act involving penetration such as the erect penis into the vagina

Sono-hysterography or sono-HSG:

Sperm:
male reproductive cell

Sterile:
unable to produce offspring

Superovulation:
see ovulation induction

Testicles:
also called testes or gonads. These are male organs located in the scrotum beneath the penis.

Testosterone:
Hormone mainly produces in the testis that primarily regulates the development of the male reproductive system and male secondary sex characteristics

Tubal blockage / Tubal disease:
fallopian tubes dysfunction, which prevents the meeting of eggs and sperm or the passage of the fertilized egg to the uterus

Tubal ligation:
is a permanent surgical procedure in which the fallopian tubes are cut and sealed off to prevent pregnancy

Transvaginal pelvic ultrasound:

Ultrasound:
non-invasive, painless medical test that helps physicians to diagnose and treat medical conditions using sound waves that produce picture of the inside of the body

Unexplained infertility:
is a diagnosis of exclusion if, after the evaluation of a couple, the reasons for their infertility cannot be determined

Uterus:
womb

Vasectomy:
surgical procedure designed to cut or block the tubes through which sperm pass in order to prevent pregnancy during sexual intercourse with a woman

Vasectomy reversal:
is a surgical procedure to restore a man’s fertility after vasectomy

 

 

 

 

 


 
 

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Last Updated December 20, 2011 | © 2007, LHSC, London Ontario Canada