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Infertility: Incompetent, Diminished, Poor – We Need Some New Terms! Blog Feature
Lisa Rosenthal

By: Lisa Rosenthal on May 27th, 2016

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Infertility: Incompetent, Diminished, Poor – We Need Some New Terms!

Glossary | Fertility Treatment

Infertility Terms to ChangeWe need new words for infertility catastrophes. Better words. Less damaging words.

It would be great not to add insult to injury, the way that some of the terminology that is used with infertility and fertility treatment does.

Very unfunny terms for very unfunny aspects of infertility.

We’re on a rampage.

Who’s we?

All of us who are offended, deep down to our bone marrow, about these insulting terms.

All of us who are feeling hurt, frustrated, and yes, damaged, enough, without hearing these hurtful words.

We’re out to change them.

Yes, we believe that we can even affect change in the way that insurance companies code procedures. We believe that we can even change the clinical medical terms that are routinely used. Most of these terms don’t actually or accurately reflect procedures and experiences- there are adjectives involved that seem subjective rather than objective.

So let’s do it. Let’s demand some changes.

Infertility Terms to Change

Because infertility terms do not have to be hurtful and demeaning. So take the challenge. Take the terms below and transform them into terms that don’t feel and sound awful.

  1. Hostile mucous
  2. Advanced maternal aging
  3. Habitual aborter
  4. Failed fertility cycle
  5. Poor responder
  6. Diminished ovarian reserve
  7. Missed abortion
  8. Poor morphology
  9. Spontaneous abortion
  10. Hamster test
  11. Incompetent cervix
  12. Luteal phase defect

Let's Think of Replacements for Fertility Terms

I’ll start with one of my least favorite fertility terms.

Missed abortion.

Why not miscarriage? Maybe that’s not any better.

How about failed pregnancy?


Trying again.

Lost pregnancy?

Incomplete pregnancy?

Broken pregnancy?

No effing pregnancy anymore?

There has to be a better term.

I listed 12 of our least favorite fertility/infertility terms, most collected from conversations with you.

Help me out here.

Let’s think of replacements that feel better, sound better, fit better.

You get extra points for NOT using swear words.

And then let’s see about how we can affect some change in the very language of infertility.

Us. We. Together.

Making infertility a little less painful.

Oh, let's go with FERTILITY, instead of infertility. 

That seems like a good place to start. 

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.