Infertility Language- Are You Fluent?
If it's Wednesday on Path to Fertility, then it's our medical day. Infertility has a language all it's own. While our doctors, nurses and other medical professionals are fluent in this language, we patients are not usually. A few terms that are used often but not always clearly understood are defined below. Taken straight from the Reproductive Medicine Associates of CT website, written by our Board Certified Reproductive Endocrinologists. Check out our glossary of infertility definitions.
If there are terms that you are hearing frequently and don't quite understand, and are not in our glossary, please let us know. The glossary is very much a work in progress and can be added to at anytime.
Aspiration: Removal of fluid and cells by suction through a needle. This technique applies to many procedures in reproductive medicine.
Clinical Pregnancy: A pregnancy in which the beating fetal heart has been identified by ultrasound.
Cyst: A fluid filled structure. Cysts may be found anywhere in the body, but in reproductive medicine we primarily refer to them in the ovaries. Ovarian cysts may be normal or abnormal depending on the circumstances. Often they are just follicles that have not been fully reabsorbed from previous menstrual or treatment cycles. They are very common in both natural and stimulated cycles.
Embryo: The term used to describe the early stages of fetal growth. Strictly defined from the second to the ninth week of pregnancy but often used to designate any time after conception.
Fibroids: Overgrowth of the muscular tissue of the uterus. Fibroids are typically knotty masses of benign muscle tissue that can distort the shape and function of the uterus. They are typically classified in to three categories: sub-mucosal, intramural and serosal. Sub-mucosal fibroids are found in the uterine cavity and impair implantation. They need to be removed in order to conceive. Intramural fibroids are problematic when they become severely enlarged or impinge on the uterine cavity. Sub-serosal fibroids generally are left alone during fertility treatments.
Hypothalamus: A portion of the brain that stimulates the pituitary gland to secrete LH and FSH in order to stimulate ovarian follicle development. The hypothalamus acts as the “pacemaker” for many important hormone-driven processes, controlling the production and periodic release of hormones from the pituitary gland.
Oocyte: The female germ cell often called an egg.
Polyp: An overgrowth of the glandular surface of the endometrium. Polyps are often removed by hysteroscopic surgery to remove any impediments to implantation.
Varicocele: A varicose vein around the ductus (vas) deferens and the testes. This may be a cause of low sperm counts, motility and morphology and lead to male infertility.
About Lisa Rosenthal
Lisa has over thirty years of experience in the fertility field. After her personal infertility journey, she felt dissatisfied with the lack of comprehensive services available to support her. She was determined to help others undergoing fertility treatment. Lisa has been with RMACT for eleven years and serves as Patient Advocate and the Strategic Content Lead.
Lisa is the teacher and founder of Fertile Yoga, a program designed to support men and women on their quest for their families through gentle movement and meditation.
Lisa’s true passion is supporting patients getting into treatment, being able to stay in treatment and staying whole and complete throughout the process. Lisa is also a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist, which is helpful in her work with fertility patients.
Her experience also includes working with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and The American Fertility Association (now Path2Parenthood), where she was Educational Coordinator, Conference Director and Assistant Executive Director.