There is no better way to start a year than by acquiring new knowledge. Reproductive medicine is a very broad field where there are terms that patients must understand and add to their daily vocabulary during treatment. Whether you are considering starting a cycle of assisted reproduction or you are already undergoing treatment, in this article we share with you the most frequent concepts that usually appear during the process.
This is a complementary technique that is carried out in the IVF laboratory. It consists of making a perforation in the pellucid zone of the embryo with the objective of favoring implantation.
The absence of the menstrual period for six months or more.
AMH ANTI-MÜLLERIAN HORMONE
A hormone often measured in fertility tests as an indicator of ovarian reserve.
A menstrual cycle in which no egg is released from the ovary.
ANTRAL FOLLICLE COUNT (AFC)
A test used to measure the number of follicles between 2 and 8 mm present in the ovaries at the onset of menstruation, and visualized using ultrasound. It is a reliable indicator of the ovarian reserve.
The most simple of all the assisted reproduction treatments. The partner’s (or donor) sperm is processed and deposited into the recipient’s uterus.
A laboratory technique in which the external “shell” of the embryo is weakened or disrupted to help the embryo implant into the uterus.
A condition where there is an abnormally high proportion of sperm with poor motility. Also known as lazy sperm.
A sperm abnormality; the total absence of sperm in the ejaculate.
Blood pregnancy test measuring the levels of the hormone; human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG).
A type of very early miscarriage which occurs before the pregnancy can be confirmed by ultrasound. The embryo implants but does not develop past a few days or weeks.
One of the developmental stages of the embryo, at approximately day 5. By cultivating embryos to blastocyst it is possible to select those with the best implantation potential and increase the chances of a successful pregnancy.
Another name for a biochemical pregnancy.
A long DNA molecule containing genetic information. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes.
A pregnancy confirmed by an ultrasound scan, as opposed to a biochemical pregnancy.
Another name for reciprocal IVF.
A yellow-colored glandular mass formed in the ovary after ovulation. It is temporary and contains progesterone and some estrogens. If the egg is fertilized it will increase in size and release the hormones to sustain the pregnancy.
In assisted reproduction, a cycles refers to the completion of a treatment, for example one round of IVF.
Consists of the elimination of the cumulus surrounding the oocyte in order for fertilization to occur. This process is called denudation.
Technique used to separate the semen sample according to the ability of the spermatozoa to pass through different media with different density.
Occurs when the embryo implants outside of the uterus, and can be very serious or life-threatening.
An assisted reproduction technique carried out in the laboratory. Similar to IVF but using eggs donated from another woman rather than using the patient’s own eggs. Thanks to this treatment, women who are unable to conceive with their own eggs can become mothers using eggs from a donor.
The procedure where the eggs are extracted from the ovaries following the ovarian stimulation. Using a transvaginal ultrasound as a guide, the ova are removed using a fine puncture needle. It is a simple and painless process performed under anesthetic sedation.
The first stage of human development. Once the egg is fertilized it is referred to as an embryo until it reaches 8 weeks of development, after which it becomes a fetus.
The transfer of donated embryos is an assisted reproduction technique in which a surplus embryo from one couple /patient (donor) is transferred to the uterus of a different patient (recipient). Depending on your country and/or state, this can be an anonymous or open-identity donation.
The moment where the embryo implants into the lining of the uterus.
The process in which the embryo (usually in blastocyst stage) is transferred into the patient’s uterus. The endometrium is previously prepared by administering hormonal medication.
A condition where endometrial tissue is found outside of the uterus, for example in the ovaries, Fallopian tubes and pelvic cavity. It can affect female fertility.
The tissue that lines the internal wall of the uterus. It is key to correct embryo implantation.
A technique to preserve egg cells in liquid nitrogen while the woman is young. This allows a woman to decide the moment in which she wishes to become a mother. Often used before cancer treatments in younger women.
Liquid filled sacs in the ovaries, in each follicle one egg develops.
The first phase of the menstrual cycle, starting with the onset of menstruation, during which the follicles begin to mature.
The insertion of a find needle into the ovaries to remove mature eggs. See “egg retrieval”.
Genetic Compatibility Test (GCT)
Genetic test used to reduce the chances of transmitting diseases to our offspring.
The emotional process through which the mother, or father, must pass when they are not able to pass their genes on to their future baby. This occurs in egg donation, artificial insemination with donor sperm and embryo adoption.
A blood test to perform the genetic compatibility test between two individuals. Used to rule out the possibility of the future baby having an autosomal recessive disease in the case that the genetics of the individuals are not compatible.
A type of hormone that is used in ovarian stimulation protocols.
A condition where the body lacks sufficient thyroid hormone. It can lead to fatigue, a slow metabolism and reduce fertility.
A radiological examination of the female reproductive organs where a fluorescent dye is used to study the permeability of the Fallopian tubes and the state of the uterus.
A procedure in which a narrow visualization device, a hysteroscope, is used to examine the uterus through the cervix.
ICSI (INTRACYTOPLASMIC SPERM INJECTION
An in vitro fertilization (IVF) technique in which the best sperm is selected and injected directly into the egg cell using a special microinjection needle.
The inability of a couple, or individual, to achieve pregnancy in a natural way.
IVF (IN VITRO FERTILIZATION)
An assisted reproduction process in which the egg and sperm cell are united in the laboratory, to give rise to fertilization and an embryo which can then be subsequently transferred to the uterus.
The chromosomes that an individual possesses.
A test to look at the chromosomes in order to detect possible genetic anomalies.
A surgical procedure using small incisions in the abdomen to introduce a small camera. Also known as keyhole surgery. In infertility cases it is used to evaluate the pelvis, uterus, ovaries, Fallopian tubes etc, and to correct certain pathologies.
The final phase of the menstrual cycle, starting just after ovulation and finishing with menstruation or pregnancy.
LUTEINIZING HORMONE (LH)
A hormone that indicates when ovulation is about to occur. Levels of this hormone surge 24 – 36 hours before the egg is released from the ovary.
Better known as “annexin columns”. It is a procedure that allows the selection of spermatozoa with lower DNA fragmentation rates.
Spontaneous loss of embryo or fetus. Increased frequency in older patients.
A low concentration of spermatozoa in the ejaculation.
The female reproductive cell, also called the ovum, female gamete, or more commonly, the egg cell.
Inadequate functioning of the ovary, usually associated with elevated FSH levels.
Unlike men, who periodically renew their sperm, a woman is born with all the ovarian follicles she will ever have, which is known as the ovarian reserve. With each ovulation this ovarian reserve diminishes in quantity and quality, as the egg cells are affected by the woman’s habits and environment over the course of her life.
Every month a woman’s ovaries will generate one mature egg cell. Ovarian stimulation is a technique to make the ovaries develop multiples follicles and egg cells, to increase the number of eggs for fertilization, vitrification or donation.
Determines whether a woman’s eggs have the morphological characteristics and adequate chromosomal endowment to give rise to a pregnancy
The release of the mature egg cell from the ovary during the menstrual cycle.
OVUM PICK UP
The egg retrieval procedure.
PCOS (POLYCYSTIC OVARY SYNDROME)
A disorder where a woman can experience menstrual irregularities and fertility problems. It is characterized by the presence of ovarian cysts and women with PCOS have an abnormally elevated level of androgen hormones.
PGD (PREIMPLANTATION GENETIC DIAGNOSIS)
A technique consisting of genetically analyzing the embryo, from an embryo biopsy, to prevent the transmission of diseases caused by genetic or chromosomal alterations. This test is fundamental to knowing the genetic characteristics of the embryo to be able to select the best embryos to transfer.
PGS (PREIMPLANTATION GENETIC SCREENING)
A variant of PGD (preimplantation genetic diagnosis) to look for the presence of aneuploidy in an embryo (an abnormal number of chromosomes).
A hormone produced by the ovarian follicle after the release of the egg in a normal menstrual cycle (or after the hCG injection in ovarian stimulation). It plays an important role in pregnancy and helps the uterus to be ready and prepared to receive the fertilized egg.
An assisted reproduction technique available for same sex female couples. One woman undergoes the ovarian stimulation (genetic mother) and the other is the embryo recipient and carries the pregnancy (gestational mother), after the eggs are fertilized in IVF using donor sperm.
Another name for reciprocal IVF (Reception of Oocytes from Partner).
Occurs when it is not possible to carry a pregnancy to term after having been pregnant previously.
SPERM ANALYSIS / SEMEN ANALYSIS
The sperm analysis, or seminogram, is a test performed on a semen sample to look at the morphology, quantity and motility of the spermatozoa, in other words: the sperm quality.
Technique that allows processing a semen sample and selecting the spermatozoa with the best motility.
Consists of directly placing the patient’s semen sample in the ICSI plate without subjecting it to any type of treatment. The sperm are selected directly from the ejaculate.
A sperm alteration affecting men where the majority of the sperm have an abnormal shape or structure.
TESA – TESTICULAR SPERM ASPIRATION
A complementary assisted reproduction technique consisting of obtaining sperm cells directly from the testicular tissue using a fine needle to aspirate them.
A multi-camera incubator that allows videos of embryo development up to the blastocyst stage.
TOTAL MOTILE SPERM COUNT (TMC)
A additional test to the basic sperm analysis, allowing the quality of the sperm to be studied in greater detail. It indicates the number of sperm with good motility in each milliliter of ejaculate, after laboratory preparation of the sperm sample.
TRIPLE SPERM SELECTION
The triple sperm selection is a technique to ensure the best sperm can be chosen so that resulting embryos, following their union with the partner’s eggs (or donor eggs) are of the greatest quality to achieve the objective: become pregnant.
TWO WEEK WAIT (TWW)
The waiting time between the embryo transfer and the beta-hCG pregnancy test to see if the treatment was successful, usually 10 – 14 days.
A pathology which can lead to male infertility; caused by varicose veins in the scrotal sac which can elevate the temperature of the testicles.
An ultrafast freezing technique which prevents the formation of ice crystals that can damage the integrity of frozen oocytes or embryos. Thanks to this technique, we can achieve very high survival rates of egg cells and embryos following thawing.