Copy of `The Bridge Centre - Sexual health glossary`

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The Bridge Centre - Sexual health glossary
Category: Health and Medicine > Fertility and sexual health
Date & country: 15/01/2011, UK
Words: 386


Abandoned Cycle
An IVF cycle cancelled after drug administration has begun and before egg collection.

Abortion
Pregnancy lost before the fetus can survive independently.

Abortion, Threatened
Spotting or bleeding that occurs early in pregnancy and which may progress to spontaneous abortion.

Acrosome
Cap-like structure that surrounds the sperm head and contains enzymes that help penetration of the egg.

Acrosome Reaction
Chemical changes that enable a sperm to penetrate an egg.

ACTH
A hormone produced by the pituitary gland to stimulate the adrenal glands. Excessive levels may lead to fertility problems.

Adhesion
Scar tissue occurring in the abdominal cavity, fallopian tubes or inside the uterus which can interfere with transport of the egg and implantation of the embryo in the uterus.

Adrenal Androgens
Male hormones produced by the adrenal gland which, when found in excess, may lead to fertility problems in both men and women. Excess androgens in the woman may lead to the suppression of LH and FSH production by the pituitary gland.

Adrenal Gland
A pair of hormone producing glands located above the kidneys.

Agglutination
Clumping sperm together due to infection, inflammation or antibodies.

AID
Artificial Insemination by Donor.

AIDS
Acquired immune-deficiency syndrome; a fatal disease caused by HIV that destroys the immune system`s ability to fight infection.

AIH
Artifical Insemination by Husband.

Alpha-fetoprotein Test (AFP)
A blood test performed to evaluate the development of the fetus and to look for fetal abnormalities.

Amenorrhea
Refers to a woman who has never had a period.

Amenorrhea, Secondary
A term describing a woman who has menstruated at one time, but who has not had a period for six months or more.

Amnicentesis
A procedure which is usually carried out around 15-16 weeks of pregnancy. It involves aspirating a small amount of the fluid which surround the baby in the womb. This fluid contains cells from the baby which can then be cultured and tested to determine the baby's chromosome. The procedure is usually performed under ultrasound scan using a fine needle. The risk of causing miscarriage by this proce...

Androgens
Male sex hormones.

Andrologist
A doctor or scientist who evaluates male fertility.

Anomaly
Malformation or abnormality in any part of the baby.

Anorexia Nervosa
A life-threatening eating disorder involving self-imposed starvation. Severe weight loss and malnutrition from this disorder cause anovulation.

Anovulation
The failure to ovulate; ovulatory failure.

Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH)
AMH is a protein which, in humans, is encoded by the AMH gene. AMH is structurally related to inhibin and activin and a member of the transforming growth factor family. It is a dimeric glycoprotein that inhibits the development of the Mullerian ducts in the male embryo.

Antibodies
Chemicals made by the body to fight or attack foreign substances entering the body which cause infertility when they attack the sperm or fetus.

Antigen
An antigen is any substance capable of eliciting immune response.

Antisperm Antibodies
Antisperm antibodies attach themselves to sperm and inhibit their movement and their ability to fertilise.

Antral Follicle Count
Transvaginal ultrasound method of combing the resting follicles foun on the ovary at the beginning of a cycle.

Artificial Insemination (AI)
The introduction of sperm in the vagina near the cervix or directly into the uterus with the use of a syringe and used to overcome sexual performance problems, to circumvent sperm antibodies, to maximise the potential of poor semen and for the use of donor sperm.

Artificial Insemination Donor (AID)
Artificial insemination with donor sperm using a fresh donor semen specimen or a thawed frozen specimen.

Aspermia
Absence of semen.

Aspiration Cycle
An initiated ART cycle in which one or more follicles are punctured and aspirated irrespective of whether or not oocytes are retrieved.

Assisted Hatching
An in vitro procedure in which the zona pellucida of an embryo (usually at eight-cell stage or a blastocyst) is perforated by chemical, mechanical or laser-assisted methods to assist separation of the blastocyst from the zona pellucida.

Asthenozoospermia
Low sperm motility.

Atresia
Degeneration and resorption of a follicle before it reaches maturity and ruptures.

Azoospermia
Semen containing no sperm, either because the testicles cannot make sperm or because of a blockage in the reproductive tract.

Basal Body Temperature (BBT)
Body temperature when taken at its lowest point, usually in the morning can be used to predict ovulation.

Basal Body Temperature, Biphasic
A basal body temperature pattern consistent with ovulation and the formation of the corpus luteum, which secretes progesterone.

Basal Body Temperature, Monophasic
An anovulatory basal body temperature pattern where the temperature remains relatively constant throughout the cycle.

Beta hCG Test
A blood test used to detect very early pregnancies and to evaluate embryo development.

Bicornuate Uterus
A congenital malformation of the uterus where the upper portion is duplicated.

Biochemical Pregnancy
When the patient`s pregnancy test is positive but no pregnancy is visible on ultrasound scan.

Biopsy
The removal of a piece of tissue for microscopic examination.

Birth Defect
Structural, functional or developmental abnormalities present at birth or later in life, due to genetic or non-genetic factors acting before birth.

Blastocyst
An embryo with a fluid-filled blastocele cavity which develops five to six days after fertilization.

Blastocyst Transfer
The transfer of one or more embryos at the blastocyst stage into the uterine cavity.

Bromocriptine (Parlodel)
An oral medication used to reduce prolactin levels and reduce the size of a pituitary tumour when present.

Bulimia
An eating disorder characterized by voracious eating followed by forced vomiting. The resulting weight loss and malnutrition may cause anovulation.

Buserelin
A long-acting GnRH available as a nasal spray and used in IVF. It can also be used to treat fibroid tumours and PMS.

Cancelled Cycle
A treatment cycle in which ovarian stimulation or monitoring has been carried out with the intent of undergoing fertility treatment but which did not proceed to follicular aspiration or, in the case of a thawed embryo, to transfer.

Capacitation
A process that sperm undergo during travel through the woman's reproductive tract. Capacitation enables the sperm to penetrate the egg.

Cauterize
To burn tissue with electrical current or with a laser. Used in surgical procedures to remove adhesions and endometrial implants.

Cervical Cerclage
A procedure in which a stitch or two is put around the cervix to prevent its opening until removed when a pregnancy is to term.

Cervical Mucus
A viscous fluid at the opening of the cervix which prevents sperm and bacteria from entering the womb. At mid-cycle and under the influence of estrogen, the mucus becomes thinner, allowing sperm to pass into the womb. See also Cervix

Cervical Smear
A sample of cervical mucus examined microscopically to assess the presence of estrogen and white blood cells, indicating possible infection.

Cervical Stenosis
A blockage of the cervical canal due to a congenital defect or complications of surgical procedures.

Cervicitis
Inflammation of the cervix.

Cervix
The opening between the uterus and the vagina. The cervix remains closed during pregnancy and dilates during labour to allow the baby to be born.

Cervix, Incompetent
A weakened cervix, which opens up prematurely during pregnancy and can cause the loss of the fetus.

Chemotherapy
The use of anticancer drugs to treat or control cancer.

Chlamydia
A sexually transmitted disease. A common cause of pelvic infection and subsequent tubal damage and infertility.

Chocolate Cyst
A cyst in the ovary filled with old blood which is usually treated with laparoscopy.

Chromosomes
The structures in the cell that carry the genes. The human has forty-six chromosomes, twenty-three female and twenty-three male.

Chronic villus sampling (CVS)
A procedure which involves taking a biopsy from the placenta to test the fetus for genetic abnormalities. It is usually carried out under ultrasound scan at about eleven weeks of pregnancy. The placenta has the same genetic make-up as the baby. There is a 2-3% risk of the procedure causing miscarriage.

Cilia
Tiny hairlike projections on the inside of the fallopian tubes which move the egg towards the uterus.

Clinical Pregnancy
Evidence of pregnancy by clinical or ultrasound parameters. It includes ectopic pregnancy. Multiple gestational sacs in one patient are counted as one clinical pregnancy.

Clinical Pregnancy Rate
The number of clinical pregnancies manually expressed as 100 initiated cycles or embryo transfers. When clinical pregnancy rates are shown, the denominator must be specified.

Clitoris
The small sex organ of the female which contains large numbers of sensory nerves.

Clomiphene (Clomid, Serophene)
A fertility drug that stimulates ovulation through the release of gonadotropins from the pituitary gland."

Clone
A group of embryos or individuals that are genetically identical.

Coitus
Intercourse; the sexual union between a man and a woman.

Conception
See Fertilization.

Conceptus
The early products of conception; the embryo and placenta.

Condom Therapy
Therapy prescribed to reduce the number of sperm antibodies in the woman by using a condom during intercourse for six months or more and by eliminating the woman`s contact with the husband's sperm to reduce antibody levels.

Cone Biopsy
A surgical procedure used to remove precancerous cells from the cervix.

Congenital
A defect existing since birth.

Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia
A congenital condition characterized by elevated androgens which suppress the pituitary gland and interfere with spermatogenesis or ovulation.

Contraception
A congenital condition characterized by elevated androgens which suppress the pituitary gland and interfere with spermatogenesis or ovulation.

Contraceptive, Oral
A medication that prevents ovulation and pregnancy which can make a small percentage of women become anovulatory when they stop taking it. The Pill can also disguise fertility problems – such as irregular cycles or endometriosis.

Cornua
The horns of the uterus where the fallopian tubes join the uterine cavity.

Corpus Luteum
The yellow-pigmented glandular structure that forms from the ovarian follicle following ovulation. The gland produces progesterone, which is responsible for preparing and supporting the uterine lining for implantation.

Cryopreservation
The freezing and storage of sperm, eggs and embryos.

Cryptorchidism
Failure of one or both testicles to descend into the scrotum.

Cumulus Oophorus
The protective layer of cells surrounding the egg.

Cushing's Syndrome
A condition characterized by an overproduction of adrenal gland secretions causing high blood pressure and water retention and pituitary output of LH and FSH. This results in low sperm production or ovulatory failure.

Cyst
Sac filled with fluid.

Cystic Fibrosis
A common genetic disease. If both partners carry the gene, there is a 25% chance that the child will have the disease. This is unpleasant and there is currently no cure. It affects the lungs, bowels, pancreas, sweat glands etc.

Cytokines
Cytokines are messenger molecules produced by lymphocytes. They communicate with other cells of the immune system and recruit them to fight off infection or reject foreign tissue from the body.

Cytomegalovirus infection
Infection caused by cytomegalovirus. Primary infection of the mother during pregnancy may result in the death of the fetus or serious generalised disease of the newborn. More commonly, congenital infection follows a benign course though about 10% of affected children may subsequently be mentally retarded.

Cytotoxic
Cytotoxic refers to a toxic effect on cells.

D&C (Dilation and Curettage)
A procedure used to dilate the cervical canal and scrape out the lining and contents of the uterus used to diagnose or treat the cause of abnormal bleeding and to terminate an unwanted pregnancy.

Danazol (danocrine)
A medication used to treat endometriosis by suppressing LH and FSH production.

Delivery Rate
The number of deliveries expressed per 100 initiated cycles, aspiration cycles or embryo transfer cycles including deliveries that resulted in a live birth and/or stillbirth. The delivery of a multiple pregnancy is registered as one delivery.

Diagnostic Laparoscopy
The insertion of a fibre optic telescope into the abdomen to look for abnormalities of the internal pelvic organs.

Dilator
An instrument used to enlarge a small opening.

DIPI
Direct intraperitoneal insemination. This is the injection of washed and prepared sperm into the peritoneal cavity under ultrasound guidance.

Dizygotic
Derived from two. Dizygotic twins were two separate eggs fertilised by separate sperm.

DNA
A nucleic acid that carries the genetic information in the cell and is capable of self-replication and synthesis of RNA. DNA consists of two long chains of nucleotides twisted into a double helix and joined by hydrogen bonds.

Donor Insemination
The insemination of donor sperm into the vagina, the cervix, the womb, the tube or peritoneum.

DOT
Direct Oocyte (egg) Transfer into the uterus.

Down Regulation
Suppression of the natural secretion of gonadotropins by using GnRh analogues.