Gender Selection and Fertility Glossary

abdominal pregnancy
definition:An ectopic pregnancy that implants on tissues in the abdomen and not in the uterus.
acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)
definition:A disease resulting from specific damage to the immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus.
definition:An enzyme-filled cap on the spermhead that releases acrosomal enzymes necessary to penetrate an egg’s outer covering.
adrenal gland
definition:Endocrine organ located above the kidney that produces hormones including estrogen and progesterone.
adrenal hyperplasia
definition:An abnormal or unusual increase in the production of androgens by the adrenal glands, usually the result of a genetic problem.
definition:The absence of menstrual periods.
definition:A prenatal test in which a sample of amniotic fluid is removed through a needle from the fetal sac. The fluid is studied for chromosomal abnormalities, and gender can be identified.
definition:Male hormones such as testosterone
definition:Failure to ovulate.
definition:An analysis to determine the presence, absence, or quantity of one or more components; or a test used in this analysis.An analysis to determine the presence, absence, or quantity of one or more components; or a test used in this analysis.
assisted reproductive technology
definition:All treatments that include laboratory handling of eggs, sperm, and/or embryos.
definition:A condition in which the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues, falsely recognizing them as foreign.
definition:A medical condition in which a male has no measurable level of sperm in his semen; associated with very low levels of fertility.
basal body temperature
definition:The body temperature at rest, taken every morning before rising.
definition:The removal of a small tissue sample for microscopic examination
definition:A thin-walled, hollow structure in early embryonic development (day 5 postconception) that contains a cluster of cells called the inner cell mass from which the embryo arises.
definition:Single cell of an embryo.
cervical canal
definition:The passageway leading from the vagina into the uterus.
cervical mucus
definition:The substance in the cervix through which sperm must swim in order to enter the uterus.
definition:The lower, narrow portion of the uterus where it joins with the top end of the vagina.
chemical pregnancy
definition:A pregnancy in which an egg is fertilized but does not implant into the uterine wall.
definition:A sexually transmitted disease that is a common cause of pelvic infections and subsequent tubal damage.
chorionic villus sampling
definition:A prenatal procedure in which a small sample of cells is taken from the placenta for chromosomal testing.
definition:Rod-shaped structures in the nucleus of a cell that contain genetic material.
clomiphene citrate
definition:An oral antiestrogen drug used to induce ovulation in the female; its trade name is Clomid.
Comparative Genomic Hybridization
definition:CGH was originally used to detect abnormalities in cancer cells. CGH is very accurate in determining the number of copies of each of the twenty-three chromosomes.
definition:Any medical condition that is present at birth.
controlled superovulation
definition:The administration of ovulation drugs that stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs.
corpus luteum
definition:A mass of tissue formed in the ovary from a ruptured follicle that has released an egg; it secretes progesterone.
definition:Freezing sperm or embryos under extremely low temperatures to store them for future use.
diagnostic laparoscopy
definition:A surgical procedure that uses a thin, lighted tube called a laparoscope inserted into the abdomen to look for abnormalities of the internal pelvic organs.
dilation and curettage (D&C)
definition:A surgical procedure in which the cervix is dilated and the lining of the uterus is scraped out
donor eggs
definition:The ova (eggs) taken from the ovaries of a fertile woman and donated to an infertile woman to be used in assisted reproductive technology.
donor embryo transfer
definition:The transfer of an embryo produced from the egg of a volunteer donor to an infertile recipient.
Down syndrome
definition:A genetic disorder caused by the presence of an extra chromosome number TS, also called trisomy TS, and associated with mental retardation, abnormal facial features, and medical problems.
early menopause
definition:Cessation of menstrual periods due to failure of the ovaries before age forty.
ectopic pregnancy
definition:A pregnancy that occurs outside the uterus, most commonly in one of the fallopian tubes.
egg retrieval
definition:Part of the in vitro fertilization process in which oocytes (eggs) are removed from the ovaries by a fine needle inserted through the top of the vagina using ultrasound guidance.
definition:The semen released by one ejaculation.
definition:The earliest stage of human development, arising after the union of the sperm and egg (fertilization) and continuing to two months.
endometrial biopsy
definition:The extraction of a small piece of tissue from the endometrium (lining of the uterus) for microscopic examination. The results indicate whether or not the endometrium is at the appropriate stage for successful implantation of a fertilized egg.
definition:Blood-filled cysts that can occur when endometrial tissue develops in the ovaries.
definition:A condition in which the uterine lining develops outside of the uterine cavity in areas such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and abdominal cavity. Endometriosis can grow with hormonal stimulation and can cause pain, inflammation, and scar tissue. endomet
definition:A condition in which the uterine lining develops outside of the uterine cavity in areas such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and abdominal cavity. Endometriosis can grow with hormonal stimulation and can cause pain, inflammation, and scar tissue.
definition:Tissue that lines the uterus; it is shed each month as the menstrual period. As the endometrium thickens each month, it provides a nourishing site for the implantation of a fertilized egg.
definition:Narrow, tightly coiled ducts behind each testicle where sperm collect. The sperm continue to mature as they are pushed through the epididymis, which covers the top and back sides of each testis.
definition:The predominant estrogen produced by the follicular cells of the ovary.
definition:A group of hormones produced by the ovaries that promote the growth and maintenance of the female reproductive system; also, any of various synthetic or semisynthetic steroids that mimic the physiological effect of natural estrogens.
fallopian tubes
definition:A pair of very fine tubes leading from a woman’s ovaries into her uterus. In normal conception, fertilization takes place inside the fallopian tube.
definition:Penetration of the egg by the sperm
definition:A developing human after the embryonic stage and before birth.
definition:The flared end of the fallopian tube that sweeps over the surface of the ovary and helps to direct the egg into the tube.
fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH)
definition:A cytogenetic technique that can be used to detect and localize the presence or absence of specific DNA sequences on chromosomes; often used for finding specific features in DNA.
follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)
definition:The pituitary hormone responsible for stimulating follicular cells in the ovary to grow, triggering egg development and the production of estrogen. FSH and luteinizing hormone act synergistically in reproduction.
definition:Fluid-filled sacs located just beneath the ovary’s surface that contain the oocytes (eggs).
gamete intra-fallopian transfer (GIFT)
definition:An assisted reproductive technology in which a woman’s eggs are surgically removed from her ovaries and combined with sperm, and then the eggs-and-sperm mixture is transferred directly into her fallopian tubes via laparoscopy.
definition:Hormones that stimulate ovarian function.
hepatitis B and C
definition:Viruses that may be sexually transmitted and can cause infection of the liver leading to jaundice and liver failure.
human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)
definition:Pituitary hormone produced by the placental tissue that triggers the LH surge that causes eggs to complete their maturity and rupture from their follicles (ovulation); also, its detection is the basis of pregnancy tests.
human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
definition:A virus that is the precursor to AIDS. It is transmitted by the exchange of bodily fluids or blood transfusions.
human menopausal gonadotropin (hMG)
definition:A fertility drug containing follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone.
definition:blocked, fluid-filled fallopian tube.
definition:A thumb-sized area in the base of the brain that controls the pituitary gland and releases gonadotropin-releasing hormone.
definition:An X-ray test in which a dye-like solution is injected through the cervix into the uterine cavity to illustrate the inner shape of the uterus and to identify any blockages in the fallopian tubes.
definition:A surgical procedure in which a lighted scope (hysteroscope) is inserted through the cervix into the uterus to enable a doctor to view the inside of the uterus. This procedure also can be used to remove blocked fallopian tubes.
definition:Relating to the body’s immune system and the cell-mediated and humoral aspects of immunity and immune responses.
definition:The process in early pregnancy in which an embryo (at this stage, a blastocyst) embeds into the uterine lining in order to obtain nutrition and oxygen.
intracervical insemination (ICI)
definition:A procedure that involves placement of sperm via a syringe into a woman’s cervix to facilitate fertilization.
intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)
definition:A micromanipulation technique in which a sperm is injected directly into an egg to maximize chances of fertilization
intrauterine insemination (IUI)
definition:A procedure that involves placement of sperm via a syringe into a woman’s uterus to facilitate fertilization.
definition:A method of assisted reproduction that takes place outside of the body. It involves combining a woman’s eggs with a man’s sperm in a laboratory dish and then transferring the resulting embryos into the woman’s uterus, where they will hopefully impla
definition:A chromosomal analysis conducted on tissue or blood.
definition:A surgical procedure performed through very small incisions in the abdomen. A pencil-thin instrument called a laparoscope is used, and it gives the surgeon an exceptionally clear view, on a TV monitor, of the inside of the abdominal cavity.
definition:A major surgical procedure involving an incision through the abdominal wall to gain access into the abdominal cavity.
Leydig cells
definition:The interstitial cells in the testes that produce the male hormone testosterone.
luteal phase
definition:The days of a menstrual cycle following ovulation and ending with menses, during which time a fertilized egg will travel from the fallopian tube to the uterus.
luteal phase defect
definition:A condition in which the lining of the uterus does not mature properly in response to progesterone secretion by the ovary after ovulation.
luteal phase deficiency test
definition:A test to determine the length of the luteal phase; anything less than ten days is considered deficient.
luteinizing hormone (LH)
definition:Helps regulate the menstrual cycle and ovulation (egg production). The level of LH in a woman’s body varies with the phase of the menstrual cycle. It increases rapidly just before ovulation occurs, about midway through the cycle.
definition:The natural cessation of women’s ovarian function and menstruation. Menopause generally begins at about age fifty-one.
menstrual cycle
definition:Recurring cycle in which the uterine lining prepares for pregnancy. The average cycle is about twenty-eight days
definition:A medication used in women who have an ectopic pregnancy; it destroys pregnancy-related tissue and hastens re-absorption of this tissue.
microflare protocol
definition:An IVF protocol designed to maximize ovarian response; it can include oral contraceptive pills, micro-doses of Lupron, or gonadotropins taken for the first few days.
definition:A group of procedures in which oocytes (eggs) and sperm are manipulated to aid in fertilization.
definition:A pregnancy that naturally ends before the fetus can survive outside of the mother’s body; also known as spontaneous abortion.
definition:A pain some women feel in the lower abdomen that is associated with ovulation and occurs in the “middle” of the cycle. It is related to the rupture of a follicle as an egg is released.
mock transfer
definition:A procedure in which a reproductive endocrinologist measures the depth and position of a uterus with an ultrasound-guided catheter.
definition:A class of bacteria that may cause diseases that affect the reproductive system.
definition:A surgical procedure used to remove uterine fibroids.
definition:A field of applied science and technology whose unifying theme is the control of matter on the atomic and molecular scale, normally 1 to 100 nanometers, and the fabrication of devices with critical dimensions that lie within that size range.
definition:Infrequent or very light menstruation in a woman with previously normal periods.
definition:Eggs; also called ova.
definition:Climax of sexual stimulation. In men, it normally accompanies ejaculation.
ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS)
definition:A syndrome that may result from ovulation induction. It is characterized by enlargement of the ovaries, fluid retention, abdominal pain, and weight gain.
ovarian reserve
definition:The number of eggs that a woman has at any time.
definition:The pair of female sex glands in the pelvis, located one on each side of the uterus. They produce eggs and hormones including estrogen, progesterone, and androgens.
definition:The rupture and release of a mature egg from its follicle in the outer layer of the ovary. Ovulation usually occurs fourteen days prior to the first day of the next period.
partial salpingectomy
definition:A surgical procedure in which the section of a fallopian tube containing an ectopic pregnancy is removed. This surgeon usually attempts to preserve most of the tube for subsequent reattachment using microsurgery in order to preserve future fertility.
pelvic inflammatory disease
definition:Infection of the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and surrounding pelvic tissue. It is a leading cause of infertility in women.
definition:The bony structure located at the base of the spine.
definition:A maternal-fetal medicine specialist.
definition:The lining of the abdominal cavity.
Petri dish
definition:A small dish with low walls used in IVF labs to hold culture medium and grow embryos.
pituitary gland
definition:A small hormone-producing gland at the base of the brain that controls the ovaries, thyroid, and adrenal glands. Ovarian function is controlled through the secretion of follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone.
definition:The organ that joins the mother and her fetus, connected by the umbilical cord. The placenta implants in the uterine wall and carries the mother’s nutrients and oxygen to the baby.
polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
definition:A disorder in which the ovaries produce an excess amount of male hormones (androgens), and ovulation occurs irregularly or not at all. PCOS is often associated with irregular menstrual cycles and infertility.
post-coital test
definition:The microscopic assessment of a sample of cervical mucus, collected after intercourse. This test determines the quality of cervical mucus and the ability of sperm to enter and penetrate the mucus.
definition:A synthetic drug often used to treat an overactive adrenal gland.
preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD)
definition:Genetic testing performed on a single embryonic cell (blastomere) before embryo transfer in IVF. It can identify gender as well as help identify missing or duplicated chromosomes and some mutated genes.
definition:A female hormone secreted by the corpus luteum after ovulation during the second half of the menstrual cycle (luteal phase). It thickens the uterine lining in preparation for implantation of a fertilized egg and maintains the uterus throughout pregnancy.
definition:A synthetic form of progesterone.
definition:A protein hormone secreted by the pituitary gland that stimulates milk production. When elevated, it may lead to the absence of menstrual periods and an ovulation.
definition:Hormone-like chemicals produced in large amounts by endometrial cells in women. They stimulate the uterine muscles to contract and are largely responsible for menstrual cramps.
prostate gland
definition:The gland located below the bladder in males that produces seminal fluid and assists in expelling semen during ejaculation.
definition:A calendar of procedures and medications for an IVF cycle.
Rh factor
definition:A protein substance present in the red blood cells of most people, capable of inducing intense antigenic reactions. When a mother is Rh-negative and a father is Rh-positive, a fetus could be Rh-positive, causing the mother’s body to reject the fetus as
Rh sensitized
definition:A condition in which an Rh-negative woman has been immunized to the Rh factor through previous exposure to this antigen.
definition:The point at which a full mature egg breaks out from its follicle.
definition:A surgical procedure in which one or both of a woman’s fallopian tubes are removed.
definition:Removal of a fallopian tube and ovary together.
definition:A surgical procedure in which the wall of a fallopian tube is opened and an ectopic pregnancy is removed
savior sibling
definition:A child conceived for the purpose of providing blood transfusions, tissue, or organ transplants for a critically ill sibling.
selective reduction
definition:A procedure performed to reduce the number of fetuses in the uterus in women who are pregnant with multiple fetuses, as the risk of extreme premature delivery, miscarriage, or other serious problems increases with the number of fetuses present.
definition:Milky fluid discharged from the urethra (tube in the penis) on ejaculation.
semen analysis
definition:Microscopic examination of a man’s semen to determine the number of sperm (sperm count), their shape (morphology), and their ability to move (motility).
semi-niferous tubules
definition:Tiny tubes located in the testicles that are the specific location of meiosis and the subsequent creation of spermatozoa.
seminal plasma
definition:The fluid in which sperm are ejaculated.
seminal vesicles
definition:Two oblong glands located behind the man’s bladder that join each vas deferens and empty into the urethra. They contribute more than half of the fluid volume of semen.
septate uterus
definition:A uterus with a dividing wall of tissue (septum) resulting in two separate cavities.
definition:A technique that involves injecting a special fluid into a woman’s uterus and fallopian tubes to observe the image of these structures produced by ultrasound on a monitor screen.
definition:A device inserted into the vagina to allow visualization of the cervix.
definition:Male reproductive cell or gamete; also called spermatozoa.
sperm motility
definition:The percentage of all moving sperm in a semen sample.
sperm penetration assay
definition:A test that measures the ability of sperm to penetrate and fertilize an egg. The sperm are mixed with hamster eggs in a laboratory.
sperm washing
definition:A technique that removes sperm from semen.
definition:The shape of individual sperm as seen under a microscope.
definition:An injection given under the skin.
definition:A procedure to facilitate fertilization in which a woman is given ovulation-inducing drugs that cause her ovaries to produce multiple eggs; also called controlled ovarian hyperstimulation.
Tay-Sachs disease
definition:A fatal heredity disorder characterized by mental retardation and paralysis. This condition is most common in Jewish offspring of eastern European descent.
definition:The two male reproductive glands located in the scrotum that produce testosterone and sperm.
definition:The primary male hormone produced by the testes that is responsible for the development of sperm, male physical characteristics, and sex drive.
thyroid gland
definition:A gland located in the neck that secrets a hormone that regulates body growth and metabolism.
thyroid stimulating hormone
definition:The hormone that stimulates the thyroid gland.
transvaginal ultrasound aspiration
definition:An ultrasound-guided technique for retrieving eggs from a woman for IVF. A long, thin needle is passed through the vagina into the ovarian follicle, and suction is applied to retrieve the eggs.
treatment cycle
definition:A monthly round of medication, testing, and medical procedures that replicates the natural process of ovulation and conception
tubal ligation
definition:A surgical procedure in which a woman’s fallopian tubes are clamped, clipped, or cut to prevent pregnancy; also referred to as “having her tubes tied.”
tubal pregnancy
definition:When a fertilized egg implants within a fallopian tube rather than in the uterine cavity; also called an ectopic pregnancy.
Turner syndrome
definition:Monosomy of sex chromosomes; when a female baby has a single X chromosome.
definition:A diagnostic technique that shows a picture of internal organs and a developing fetus, produced by high-frequency sound waves.
uterine lining
definition:The lining of the uterus, which produces the monthly menstrual blood flow when there is no pregnancy; also called the endometrium.
definition:The hollow, muscular female reproductive organ in the pelvis where a fertilized egg implants and then grows during pregnancy.
definition:Reproductive pathway in females that receives the male reproductive cells, or sperm, and is part of the birth canal during the birth process. It also functions as an excretory canal for the products of menstruation.
definition:An abnormal enlargement of the veins in the scrotum draining the testicles; it can cause infertility in some men.
vas deferens
definition:The two muscular tubes in a male that carry sperm from the epididymis to the urethra.
washed sperm
definition:Concentrated sperm spun in a centrifuge to separate it from seminal fluid.
definition:The uterus—the major female reproductive organ. One end, the cervix, opens into the vagina; the other is connected on both sides to the fallopian tubes.
X-linked disease
definition:An inherited disease that results from genetic mutations on the X chromosome. Typically, women are carriers and do not show signs or symptoms; their male offspring have a WR % chance of suffering symptoms of the disease.
definition:Sex chromosomes of a female.
definition:Sex chromosomes of a male.
zona pellucida
definition:The mucous layer surrounding an egg, and, after fertilization, an embryo.
definition:A diploid cell that is the result of fertilization—a fertilized egg. The zygote is the very earliest stage of development of the embryo.