Glossary

ADHESIONS

Scar tissue from infection, endometriosis, surgery or bleeding which can distort or cause dysfunction of organs.

AMNIOCENTESIS

The removal of a small amount of fluid using ultrasound guidance from the fetal sac to check for fetal abnormalities.

ANEUPLOIDY

The presence of extra or missing chromosomes in cells.

ASPIRATION

Gentle suction used to remove an egg from a follicle.

BIOCHEMICAL PREGNANCY

Elevated hormone levels indicate a pregnancy, but implantation and continuing development of the embryo does not occur.

BLASTOCYST

The stage of a day 5 to 6 day old embryo.

BLIGHTED OVUM

A fertilised egg which does not continue to develop at an early stage.

CERVIX

A ring of muscle at the base of the uterus, extending into the vagina.

CHORIONIC VILLUS BIOPSY

The removal of a small amount of tissue from the placenta (the structure which joins the mother to the fetus) to check for fetal abnormalities.

CRYOPRESERVATION

Preservation by freezing and storage of gametes, embryos or other tissue.

ECTOPIC PREGNANCY

Implantation of the embryo other than in the uterus (usually in the fallopian tube).

EGG

The female cell developed in the ovary which forms an embryo when fertilised by a sperm; also called ovum (plural ova) or oocyte.

EJACULATION

Action whereby semen containing sperm is discharged from the penis associated with male orgasm.

EMBRYO

The fertilised egg which has begun cell division.

EMBRYO TRANSFER 

Placing the embryo, developed in vitro, into the uterus using a catheter threaded through the cervix.

ENDOMETRIOSIS

A condition where endometrial tissue is located outside the uterus in the endometrial cavity. It responds to hormonal changes as if it were in its correct place.

ENDOMETRIUM

The lining of the uterine wall in which the embryo implants.

FALLOPIAN TUBES

The narrow tubes leading from the top of the uterus towards the ovaries.

FERTILISATION

Penetration of the egg cell by the sperm cell, which results in cell division.

FIMBRIA

Finger-like structure at the outer end of the fallopian tube, which guides the egg, released by the ovary, into the tube.

FLUSHING

Refilling a follicle with a special fluid (media) to ensure aspiration of the egg.

FSH

(Follicle Stimulating Hormone) A hormone produced by the Pituitary gland, which controls growth of the ovarian follicle and maturation of egg cells in a woman and sperm production in a man.

GAMETE

A reproductive cell (sperm and eggs).

GIFT 

(Gamete Intra Fallopian Transfer) Sperm and eggs are deposited into the fallopian tubes, either through a catheter placed into the cervix or via a laparoscope into the abdominal cavity.

hCG

(Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin) A hormone produced by the developing embryo and later by the placenta. It is also administered during IVF, GIFT, TEST, PROST, IUI and Ovulation Induction to induce ovulation at a precise time (referred to as the trigger injection).

HYPER STIMULATION

An exaggerated response of the ovaries to the drugs given, resulting in bloating of the lower abdomen, pain, nausea, discomfort and enlarged ovaries with associated discomfort.

IMPLANTATION

The embedding of an embryo in the endometrium of the uterus.

INFERTILITY

The inability to become pregnant after 12 months of regular unprotected intercourse.

IVF

(In Vitro Fertilisation) The combining of a selected sample of mature sperm with mature eggs in a petri dish or test tube for fertilisation.

LAPAROSCOPY

A surgical procedure in which a laparoscope with an attached light is inserted into the abdomen, so the surgeon can perform procedures with minimal invasion using video control.

LH 

(Luteinising Hormone) A hormone that is produced by the Pituitary gland and rises at ovulation, controlling the release of a mature egg from a follicle in the female, and male hormone production (testosterone) in men.

LUCRIN 

(Leuprolide) A drug which suppresses the production of FSH and LH in the Pituitary gland (after initial stimulation).

LUTEAL PHASE

The segment of the menstrual cycle, after ovulation but before menstruation.

MENSTRUAL CYCLE

Recurring changes in a woman's body, during which hormonal activity causes regular development of follicles and eggs, as well as changes in the lining of the uterus. Sloughing of uterine cells manifests as bleeding from the vagina at the end of a cycle in which pregnancy has not occurred.

OVARIES

Small organs located in the pelvic cavity, on either side of the uterus, which contains eggs.

OVULATION

The release of a mature egg cell from the ovary.

PITUITARY

A hormone producing gland located at the base of the brain.

PGD

(Pre implantation Genetic Diagnosis) A test performed on the embryo to detect a limited range of genetic disorders.

PGS

(Pre implantation Genetic Screening) A test performed on the embryo to detect an abnormal number of chromosomes (aneuploidy). Currently only chromosomes X, Y, 13,15,16,18,21 & 22 are able to be assessed.

SEMEN

The fluid discharged by the male on ejaculation, which contains sperm and other glandular secretions.

SCSA

(Sperm Chromatid Structure Assay) A test to determine the level of DNA fragmentation in sperm.

TESTES

Male organs located in the scrotum, which produce sperm cells (into the semen) and the male hormone testosterone (into the bloodstream).

UTERUS

A small pear shaped organ in which the embryo implants and the fetus grows until delivery.

VAGINA

A distensible tube shaped organ leading from the cervix, which can contain the penis during intercourse and allows sperm access to the uterus and fallopian tubes and through which a baby is born.

VITRIFICATION

A rapid cryopreservation technique for eggs and embryos. Superior to slow freezing due to the absence of cell damage by crystal formation.

ZYGOTE

Fertilised egg.