Glossary of Fertility Terms

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Exploring fertility terms

Here is a glossary of fertility terms for patients.

Clomiphene Citrate: an oral anti-estrogen drug used to induce ovulation in women. It works by causing the pituitary gland to release the hormones FSH and LH, which, in turn, stimulate the ovaries to develop follicles and release eggs.

Estradiol: a steroid hormone produced by the follicle. It helps regulate the pituitary gland secretion of the hormones FSH and LH, as well as cause the lining of the uterus to grow.

Follicle: cystic structures in the ovary that contain the egg. They develop under the stimulation of the hormones FSH and LH.

FSH: Follicle Stimulation Hormone is a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland in the brain that causes the follicles in the ovary to grow.

Gonadotropins: hormones that stimulate the ovary, FSH and LH. They are normally secreted by the pituitary gland in the brain. They may be also contained in drugs that are injected in women as part of infertility therapy.

Infertility: one year of attempting conception without success (6 months for women > 35).

Intrauterine Insemination: The male partner produces sperm; it is then processed, concentrated and injected into the inside of the uterus via a flexible catheter. When combined with fertility drugs (gonadotropins or clomiphene), it can be an effective therapy.

In Vitro Fertilization: a process in which eggs are retrieved from the woman and are combined with the partner’s sperm in the laboratory. Embryos subsequently develop and an appropriate number are replaced in the woman’s uterus.

LH: Luteinizing hormone is a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland that causes ovulation to occur.

Oocyte: the egg, contained within the follicles in the ovary.

Ovarian Reserve: the term used to describe where a woman’s ovaries are in the aging process. Age, testing and response to therapy are taken into account as part of the determination.

Ovulation: the process by which the follicle releases the egg from the ovary

Disclaimer: The intent of this information and fertility terms is to inform patients regarding the effects of aging on a woman’s reproductive capabilities. A comparison of clinic success rates may not be meaningful because patient medical characteristics and treatment approaches may vary form clinic to clinic.

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