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What Do All Those Infertility Acronyms Mean?


Article contributed by:
Dr. Todd Deutch
Advanced Reproductive Center in Illinois, a participating WINFertility Provider Network

The Language of Infertility

Learning the language of infertility is important to helping you with your fertility treatment. In the doctor’s office, online, or in your support groups, you may be hearing all kinds of new words and acronyms. By understanding the medical terminology, you have a better sense of what to expect from each cycle. To help you learn the language of fertility treatment, here is a quick guide to the most common terms that you may hear during your fertility treatment.

Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH): A blood level thought to reflect the size of the remaining egg supply or “ovarian reserve”.   It’s useful in predicting a women’s likely response to fertility medications.

Assisted Hatching (AH): A procedure in which the outer covering of the embryo, the zona pellucida, is partially opened, usually by laser, to facilitate embryo implantation and pregnancy.

Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART): Procedures in which pregnancy is attempted through the manipulation of sperm and eggs outside of the body, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Cryopreservation: A freezing technique used to preserve embryos, eggs and sperm for future use in a fertility procedure.

Egg Donor (ED): A woman who donates eggs for the purpose of assisted reproduction.

Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET): The thawing and placement of a previously cryopreserved embryo(s) into the uterus.

Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH): A hormone produced by the pituitary gland that helps control the menstrual cycle and the production of eggs by the ovaries. This hormone level can be measured to assess the number of egg in the ovaries or “ovarian reserve”.

Gestational Carrier: A women that carriers a pregnancy for another person or couple.

Traditional Surrogate: This term is often wrongly used interchangeably with gestational carrier. In a traditional surrogate cycle the traditional surrogate’s eggs are used. In a gestational carrier cycle either the intended parent’s or a donor’s eggs are used.

Intrauterine Insemination (IUI): An office procedure in which prepared sperm cells are placed directly into a woman’s cervix or uterus to produce a pregnancy.

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF): A method of assisted reproduction that involves combining an egg with sperm in a laboratory dish. If the egg fertilizes and begins cell division, the resulting embryo is transferred into a woman’s uterus where it will hopefully implant in the uterine lining and further develop.

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI): A procedure in which a single sperm is injected directly into an egg to attempt direct fertilization of the egg. This technique is often used when male infertility is an issue.

Intended Parent (IP): A person or couple who seeks family building options.

Luteinizing Hormone (LH ): A hormone produced by the cells in the pituitary gland. In females, an acute rise of LH triggers ovulation and the development of the corpus luteum. The mid cycle surge in LH hormone production is measured in most over the counter ovulation predictor kits in order to determine the timing of ovulation.

Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS): A condition that can occur a few days after egg collection that is caused by too many follicles being stimulated to grow at once in the ovaries. Fluid moves from the blood into the abdomen and into tissue. Untreated, it can have serious consequences.

Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD): A screening test used in patients that have a known genetic or chromosomal disorder. The test is used to determine if a specific genetic or chromosomal disorder is present in each individual embryo produced through in vitro fertilization. In order to reduce the risk of transmission of the disorder to offspring only non affected embryos are used to try and achieve a pregnancy.

Preimplantation Genetic Screening (PGS): A screening tool designed to examine embryos to determine if they have the right number of chromosomes. This is a screening test that can be done as part of an in vitro fertilization cycle. PGS differs from PGD in that for PGD patients are know carriers of a disease and we are looking only for that specific disease. For PGS patients are usually not known carriers of a disease and the screen is a general screen.

Advanced Reproductive Center ( focuses on the needs of our patients, from developing a strong patient relationship, promoting a stress free pregnancy, and delivering a successful birth. Perhaps the greatest testimonies to our work are the many babies born as a result of our efforts. We are pleased with our very high success rates and proud of our commitment to provide high quality, state-of-the-art care to each of our patients, at the lowest possible price. No one will work harder to make your dream of childbirth reality.