Undergoing fertility treatment can be bewildering, especially when you have to learn a new lingo to understand it all. To get you started, Wijnland has prepared a quick guide to some of the most common terms used in the journey to fertility.

Assisted Reproduction Technology (ART): This is an overall term to refer to the treatments designed around infertility of which there are a number including IVF, ICSI, GIFT etc…

Artificial Insemination: The name of a procedure whereby sperm is introduced into a woman’s uterus.

Anovulation: when a woman seldom or never ovulates.

Azoospermia: an absence of sperm in the male semen.

Amenorrhea: a condition in which a woman doesn’t have menstrual periods.

Basal Body Temperature (BBT): a temperature reading taken daily by a woman to help chart her ovulation cycle.

Blastocyst: terminology for the state of an egg that is five days fertilised.

Ectopic Pregnancy: a pregnancy where the embryo is implanted outside of the uterus. Unfortunately it is not a sustainable pregnancy and is even dangerous to the mother so must be terminated.

Endometriosis: an acutely painful condition whereby some of the tissue from the uterus lining begins to grow outside of the uterus.

Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH): a hormone that causes stimulates growth in the cells of the ovaries.

Frozen Embryo Transfer: A process whereby frozen embryos from a donor or previous IVF are thawed and
placed into the uterus

Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT): one of the ART treatments; sperm and eggs are removed, mixed together in a laboratory and then placed in the fallopian tubes.

Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG): a hormone that is introduced to activate ovulation.

Hyperstimulation: a necessary part of most fertility treatment, whereby hormones are ingested and injected to stimulate the ovaries into producing more than one egg at a time.

Hysterosalpinogram: If the doctor needs to determine whether the fallopian tubes are open and the uterine cavity is normal, they will inject a dye into the cervix and uterus and take an X-ray that captures the areas covered in dye.

Hysteroscopy: the doctor may need to see what the patient’s cervix and uterus look like so they will insert thin, telescopic instrument into the area to be able to see what is going on.

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI): sperm is injected directly into an egg in a laboratory environment and then implanted into the woman’s uterus.

Intrauterine Insemination (IUI): the fertility doctor injects sperm into the patient’s uterus.

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF): also an ART, this method sees the harvesting of sperm and eggs from the respective partner’s and then a process in which they are fertilised in the laboratory. The fertilised egg is then placed into the woman’s uterus.

Laparoscopy: another procedure involving a telescopic device being used to view the internal reproductive organs but this time it is introduced through a tiny incision in the patient’s abdomen whilst the patient is under general anaesthetic.

Male Factor Infertility: when the cause of the fertility problem is found to be with the male in the couple

Oligospermia: A low sperm count – too few sperm to fertilise an egg naturally

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID): a fairly common condition in which a woman’s reproductive organs are inflamed by infection leading to infertility.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): another common condition related to problems with hormonal imbalance. The condition is most frequently marked by numerous cysts which line the ovaries.

Premature Ovarian Failure: essentially this is early menopause – or menopause that begins before the age of forty.

Social Freezing: a term that describes the choice to put off having children by harvesting eggs during premium fertility years to aside for later fertilization.

Testicular Biopsy: a process to extract tissue from one or both testicles to determine fertility. It may also be performed to extract semen for IVF treatments.

Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer (ZIFT): In this ART treatment, the eggs and sperm are harvested, fertilised in a laboratory and introduced into the fallopian tubes.