Assisted reproductive terminology

Artificial insemination (AI) -  A procedure in which a fine catheter (tube) is inserted through the cervix (the natural opening of the uterus) into the uterus (the womb) to deposit a sperm sample directly into the uterus.  The purpose of this relatively simple procedure is to achieve fertilisation and pregnancy. Artificial insemination is also called intrauterine insemination (IUI).   

Assisted reproductive treatment (ART) - A medical treatment or a procedure that procures, or attempts to procure, pregnancy in a woman by means other than sexual intercourse or artificial insemination, and includes in-vitro fertilisation and gamete intra-fallopian transfer. Also referred to as assisted reproductive technologies.

Commissioning parent - For a surrogacy arrangement, the person or persons who enter into the surrogacy arrangement for a woman to carry a child on behalf of the person or persons. 

Donor insemination (DI) - Artificial insemination with donor sperm.

Donor - A person who donates egg/s or sperm. This person may be known or anonymous to the recipient.

Donor conception - A conception that takes place through the use of donated gametes (egg, sperm or embryo).  People born through the use of donor treatment are referred to as donor-conceived or donor offspring.

Donor recipient/relative - A person who is the recipient or related to the recipient of a donor treatment procedure.  This terminology is usually used to describe someone in a parenting role of a donor-conceived person.  However, it can be extended outside of this boundary.

Donor treatment - A treatment procedure where the desired outcome is pregnancy through the use of donor gametes.

Embryo - The organism in the early stages of growth and differentiation from fertilization to, in humans, the beginning of the third month of pregnancy. After that point in time, it is termed a fetus.

Embryo transfer (ET) - The transfering of embryos into the uterus using a thin catheter.

Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) - A hormone produced by the pituitary gland, controlling the menstrual cycle and production of eggs by the ovaries.  The level of FSH is highest just before a women ovulates.  In men, it controls the production of sperm and the levels normally remain the same. 

Fertilisation - Penetration of an oocyte (egg) by sperm.  

Gamete - An oocyte (egg) or sperm.

Gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT) - A medical procedure of transferring oocyte/s (egg/s) and sperm to the body of a woman.

Hysterosalpingogram (HSG) - An X-ray procedure to check if the fallopian tubes are open and whether there are uterine abnormalities.

Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) - ICSI is a micromanipulation technique where a single sperm is injected into the inner cellular structure of an egg.  

Intrauterine insemination (IUI) -  A procedure in which a fine catheter (tube) is inserted through the cervix (the natural opening of the uterus) into the uterus (the womb) to deposit a sperm sample directly into the uterus. The purpose of IUI is to achieve fertilization and pregnancy. IUI is a relatively simple procedure. "Intrauterine" is within the uterus. "Insemination" is from "in-" + "semen," seed = seed in. So, "intrauterine insemination" = seed in the uterus. Also referred to as artificial insemination (AI).

In-vitro fertilisation (IVF) - A laboratory procedure in which sperm are placed with an unfertilized egg in a Petri dish to achieve fertilization. The embryo is then transferred into the uterus to begin a pregnancy or cryopreservd (frozen) for future use. IVF was originally devised to permit women with damaged or absent Fallopian tubes to have a baby. Normally a mature egg is released from the ovary (ovulated), then enters the Fallopian tube, and waits in the neck of the tube for a sperm to fertilize it. With defective Fallopian tubes, this is not possible. The first IVF baby, Louise Joy Brown, was born in England in 1978.

In vitro fertilization literally means "fertilization in glass." A child born by in vitro fertilization is inaccurately known a "test tube baby."

Luteinising hormone (LH) - A hormone released by the pituitary gland in response to luteinizing hormone- releasing hormone. Abbreviated LH, it controls the length and sequence of the female menstrual cycle, including ovulation, preparation the uterus for implantation of a fertilized egg, and ovarian production of both estrogen and progesterone. In males, it stimulates the testes to produce androgen. Also known as interstitial-cell-stimulating hormone (ICSH).

Menstruation - The periodic blood that flows as a discharge from the uterus. Also called menorrhea, the which the time during menstruation occurs is referred to as the menses.  The menses occurs at approximately 4 week intervals to compose the menstrual cycle.

Micro epididymal sperm aspiration (MESA) - Procedure for collecting sperm from whose reproductive ducts (the epididymis) are obstructed or have undergone a vasectomy.

Oocyte (egg) retrieval - Procedure undertaken in an attempt to collect eggs from a woman.

Ovulation - The release of the ripe egg from the ovary. The egg is released when the cavity surrounding it (the follicle) breaks open in response to a hormonal signal. Ovulation occurs around fourteen or fifteen days from the first day of the woman's last menstrual cycle. When ovulation occurs, the ovum moves into the fallopian tube and becomes available for fertilization.

Ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome (OHSS) - A complication of assisted reproduction which left untreated, may cause serious health implications.  OHSS occures when there is excessive stimulation of the ovaries whilst taking fertility medication. Women may complain of abdominal discomfort and mild swelling, feeling bloated, nausea and weight gain.

Ovulation induction (OI) - The use of medication, such as drugs, tablets or injections, to encourage ovulation in women who typically do not ovulate.

Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) - After IVF, one or two cells are removed from the embryo in vitro and tested to avoid the transmission of a genetic abnormality or congenital disease inherited from the parents.  This procedure may also be used for IVF and pregnancy failure.

Pregnant -  The state of carrying a developing fetus within the body. The word "pregnant" comes from the Latin pre- meaning before + (g)natus meaning birth = before (giving) birth. The word "prenatal" has exactly the same origin.

Single embryo transfer (SETT) - Where only one embryo is transferred into the uterus.

Sibling/half-sibling - The relationship of two donor-conceived persons to one another.  If they are the result of the same mother utilising the same donor or donors, they are considered to be full-siblings.  People born as a result of donor treatment where the same donor was utilised are considered to be half-siblings.

Surrogate - A women who becomes intentionally pregnant agrees prior to conception to permanently surrender the child to another person or couple who will be the child's parent or parents. 

Register - A formal or official record.  The Victorian  Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages maintains registers relating to donor conception in Victoria.

Testicular sperm extraction (TESE) - Same type of surgery as MESA, except the sperm is retrieved from the testicle, as te man has no sperm in his ejaculate.  It is then collected for use in IVF or an ICSI treatment.

Transfer - The procedure of placing embryos or occytes and sperm into the body of a woman.

Zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT) - Zygote is a fertilised egg.  This procedure is similar to IVF in which the eggs are fertilised in a laboratory and then transferred to the fallopian tube.