Glossary

Advanced Embryo Selection

A Preimplantation genetic diagnosis test that screens all chromosomes in a developing embryo allowing selection and fresh transfer of the embryo with the best chance of success.

AH (Assisted Hatching)
The procedure in which the outer layer of the embryo (called the zona) is thinned by a laser to help the embryo implant more easily.
Andrology
Andrology is a sub-specialty in urology that is devoted to problems concerning the male reproductive system, male urology and male infertility.
Anti-sperm antibodies
Antibodies (that can develop in the bodies of either men or women) block the movement or function of the sperm.
Assisted Reproductive Services

A collective term for fertility treatments. Treatments that involve the application of laboratory or (ART) clinical techniques to gametes and/or embryos for the purpose of reproduction. Common treatments include IVF Cycles, frozen embryo transfers, cryostorage of frozen embryos and intra-uterine insemination.

Assisted Reproductive Technology

A collective term for fertility treatments. Treatments that involve the application of laboratory or (ART) clinical techniques to gametes and/or embryos for the purpose of reproduction. Common treatments include IVF Cycles, frozen embryo transfers, cryostorage of frozen embryos and intra-uterine insemination.

Blastocyst
The term for an embryo five days after fertilisation which has now developed a special shape with different parts identifiable and a fluid-filled cavity.
Cervix
The neck of the womb. The embryo transfer normally involves passing a small soft catheter through this.
Curettage (D&C)
Having the contents or the lining of the uterus removed under anaesthetic, either by scraping it with an instrument (called a curette) or by suctioning out with a soft plastic tube.
Cytogenetics
Cytogenetics is a branch of genetics that focuses on the microscopic analysis of chromosomes in individual cells.
Digital High Magnification
This is the most advanced method of performing MSOME selection of sperm for optimum fertilisation.
Donor insemination
The use of sperm from a male donor in order to achieve a pregnancy.
Ectopic pregnancy
A pregnancy that implants in the wrong part of the body most commonly in a fallopian tube. This pregnancy cannot develop in to a baby but can pose severe problems for the mother.
Egg collection
The stage of an IVF treatment cycle where the woman’s eggs are collected under vaginal ultrasound.
Embryo
Once the egg has joined with the sperm it is called an embryo.
Embryo Transfer (ET)
The stage of an IVF treatment cycle where the embryo is transferred back to the woman’s uterus via a fine catheter.
EMSN
The Australian Government’s Extended Medicare Safety Net.
Endocrinology
Endocrinology is a branch of biology and medicine dealing with the endocrine system, its diseases, and hormones, including hormones that relate to the reproductive system.
Endometriosis
The presence of the normal lining of the uterus (called the endometrium) in abnormal locations in the body such as the Fallopian tubes, ovaries and peritoneal cavity.
Endometrium
The membrane lining the inside of the uterus.
Fallopian Tube
The fallopian tube runs from the ovary to the uterus along which the egg normally travels and where the egg and sperm normally join together.
Follicle
The bag of fluid that surrounds the egg and which can usually be seen on the ultrasound scan.
Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH)
A hormone produced and released from the pituitary gland, to stimulate the follicle (and thus the egg) to grow.
Follicular Phase
The first half of a woman’s ovarian cycle following menstruation and during which the follicles grow.
Gamete
A word that describes both the male and female reproductive cells i.e. the sperm and egg.
hCG
The hormone that is produced by the embryo and is measured in a pregnancy test. Injections of hCG can be used to trigger maturation of the egg followed by ovulation. Injections of hCG may also be used to maintain hormone levels in the second half (luteal phase) of the cycle.
HyCoSy
An ultrasound procedure to test whether or not the fallopian tubes are blocked. It involves the injection of a dye through the cervix and into the uterus.
Hypothalamus
An area of the brain that produces hormones that control body temperature, appetite and the release of hormones from the endocrine glands.
Hysterosalpingogram
A specialised x-ray procedure to test whether or not the fallopian tubes are blocked. It also involves the injection of a dye through the cervix and into the uterus.
Hysteroscopy
A procedure normally carried out under anaesthetic where the cervix is dilated to allow a small camera to pass through the cervix into the lower end of the uterus to give a clear view of the lining of the uterus.
ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection)
The fertility technique where a single sperm is selected and directly injected into an egg. High Magnification ICSI uses extremely high magnification to help sperm selection for specific patients.
Implantation
The embedding of the embryo in the lining of the uterus 6-7 days after fertilisation.
IMSI (Intracytoplasmic Morphologically selected Sperm Injection)
This is the name of the technique where scientists inject MSOME selected sperm in to an egg to assist fertilisation. We use Digital High Magnification for this technique.
International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO)
International body responsible for developing voluntary international standards in relation to product and service quality.
Intra-uterine Insemination (IUI)
Treatment that involves inserting the partner’s concentrated semen through the neck of the womb into the uterus itself close to the time of ovulation.
IVF (In Vitro Fertilisation)
The procedure, by which an egg and sperm are joined together outside the body, in a specialised laboratory. The fertilised egg (embryo) is allowed to grow in a protected environment for some days before being placed back (transferred) into the uterus.
Laparoscopy
Keyhole surgery that involves inserting a small telescope (laparoscope) through the abdominal wall so that the pelvic organs can clearly be seen.
LH (Luteinising Hormone)
A hormone produced and released by the pituitary gland. It is responsible for triggering ovulation.
Luteal Phase
The last 14 days of a menstrual cycle after ovulation.
MBS
The Commonwealth Government’s Medicare Benefits Schedule.
Medicare Levy Surcharge
Levy on payers of Australian tax who do not have private health insurance with hospital cover and who earn above a certain income.
MSOME (Motile Sperm organelle morphology examination)
Assessing sperm shape under very high magnification.
National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA)
Authority responsible for accreditation of laboratories, inspection bodies, calibration services, producers of certified reference materials and proficiency testing scheme providers throughout Australia.
NIPT
Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT), available for women who are at least 9 weeks pregnant, analyses the baby’s DNA within the mother’s blood sample for certain chromosome conditions that could affect the baby’s health.
Oestrogen (or Estrogen)
The primary female hormone produced mainly from the ovary from puberty until the menopause.
Oocyte
The fully mature egg produced from the ovary each month.
Oosight (previously PolScope)
This is an approach to identifying the position, structure and normality of the chromosomal spindle (the genetic material) in the egg prior to ICSI fertilisation.
OPU
Oocyte Pick Up
Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS)
A condition where women over-respond to the fertility drugs and can develop severe fluid retention and abdominal swelling.
Ovaries
The female sex glands which produce eggs.
Ovulation
The time the egg is released.
Ovulation Induction
Medication used to stimulate growth and release of the eggs. This may be used in combination with Intra-Uterine Insemination.
Pituitary Gland
The gland located at the base of the brain, which controls most hormone functions in the human.
Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis
Testing the genetic makeup of the embryo before it is (PGD) transferred back into the woman.
Pre-implantation Genetic Screening
Screening all 24 chromosomes in a developing embryo (PGS) prior to implantation in an IVF cycle.
Private Health Insurance Rebate
A rebate from the Australian Government to help cover the cost of premiums for private health insurance in Australia.
Progesterone
The hormone produced by the ovary after ovulation to maintain the pregnancy.
Semen
The ejaculated fluid comprising sperm and other secretions of the sex glands of the male.
Sonohysterogram
A sonohysterogram (ultrasound) or hysterosalpingogram (HSG) arediagnostic tests used to discover abnormalities in the uterine cavity and test if the fallopian tubes are normal.
Spermatozoa (sperm)
The male reproductive cells (gametes).
Ultrasound (scan)
A modified form of radar used to see the follicles in the ovary and pregnancy in the uterus. This may be done either through the abdomen or (more usual in IVF) through the vagina.
Uterus (womb)
The female reproductive organ that supports the developing fetus. It is the source of a woman’s menstruation.
Vas Deferens
The tube that transports the sperm from the testes.
Vasectomy
A form of contraception for men where the vas deferens (the tube along which the sperm passes) is tied off or clipped.