Baby Heaading Image


Abandoned cycle

In IVF where a treatment cycle is cancelled after commencing administration of drugs, but at any stage before embryo transfer.


Assisted reproductive technology

Assisted hatching

The mechanical, chemical or laser breaching of the gelatinous coating of the egg.

Cervical mucus

The secretions surrounding the cervical canal. The amount and texture changes during ovulation to allow sperm penetration.


All licensed clinics are required to offer patients counselling. Such counselling aims to enable the patient to understand the implications of treatment, to give emotional support and to help the patient cope with the consequences of treatment.


The storage of gametes or embryos by freezing at low temperatures.

Donor Insemination (DI)

The insemination of donor sperm into the vagina, the cervix or the womb itself.

Egg collection

Procedure by which eggs are collected from the woman`s ovaries by using an ultrasound guided needle or by using a laparoscope (an instrument for looking into the abdomen) and a needle. Also known as egg retrieval.


A fertilised egg up to eight weeks of development.

Embryo freezing

Embryos not required for treatment in a cycle can be frozen and stored for future use. Freezing is also known as cryopreservation.

Embryo transfer

Transfer of one or more embryos to the uterus.

Embryo storage

The storage of one or more frozen embryos for future use.


A female condition in which endometrial cells, which normally line the uterus, implant around the outside of the uterus and/or ovaries, causing internal bleeding, pain and reduced fertility.


Coiled tubing outside the testicles which store sperm.

Fallopian tube(s)

The tubes between the ovaries and the uterus. After release of the egg from one of the ovaries, the tube transports the egg to the uterus.


The term used for an embryo after the eighth week of development until birth.


A small sac in the ovary in which the egg develops.


The male sperm or the female egg.

Gamete Intra Fallopian Transfer (GIFT)

A procedure in which eggs are retrieved from the woman, mixed with sperm and immediately replaced in one or other of the woman`s fallopian tubes so that they fertilise inside the body.


Drugs used to stimulate the ovaries similar in composition to natural follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) produced by the pituitary gland.

Hamster test (HEPT)

A test of the fertilising ability of human sperm by observing their penetration into the hamster egg.


Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority.

Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)

A variation of IVF treatment where a single sperm is injected into the inner cellular structure of the egg.

Intrauterine Insemination

Insemination of sperm into the uterus of a woman.

In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)

Eggs and sperm are collected and put together to achieve fertilisation (IVF) outside the body.

Live birth

The delivery of one or more babies.

Live birth rate

The number of live births achieved from every 100 treatment cycles commenced.

Menstrual cycle

A cycle of approximately one month in the female during which the egg is released from an ovary, the uterus is prepared to receive the fertilised egg and blood and tissue are lost via the vagina if a pregnancy does not occur.

Microsurgical Epididymal Sperm Aspiration (MESA)

Retrieving sperm directly from the epididymis.

Multiple birth

Birth of more than one baby from a pregnancy.

Multiple birth rate

This is the percentage of all births in which more than one baby was born.

Multiple pregnancy

This is the percentage of all pregnancies in which two or more foetal hearts are present.

Neonatal death

The death of a baby within 28 complete days of delivery.

Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS)

A serious complication following stimulation of the ovaries with gonadotrophin drugs.


One of a pair of female reproductive organs which produce eggs and hormones.

Partial Zona Dissection (PZD)

A variation of IVF treatment in which a small hole is made in the outer membrane of the egg using a small glass needle, thereby easing the passage of sperm into the egg under their own motion.

Percutaneous Epididymal Sperm Aspiration (PESA)

Retrieving sperm directly from the coiled tubing outside the testicles that store sperm (epididymis) using a needle.

Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD)

Techniques by which embryos fertilised in vitro are tested for specific genetic disorders (e.g. cystic fibrosis) or other characteristics such as sex before transfer to the uterus.

Pregnancy rate

The number of pregnancies achieved from every 100 treatment cycles commenced.


An immature sperm cell.


The birth of a dead infant.

Stimulation drugs

Drugs used to stimulate a woman`s ovaries to produce more eggs than usual in a monthly cycle; also known as superovulatory drugs.

Stimulated cycle

A treatment cycle in which stimulation drugs are used to produce more eggs than usual in the woman`s monthly cycle.


The stimulation of a woman`s ovaries with drugs to produce more eggs than usual in a monthly cycle.

Testicular Sperm Extraction (TESE)

Retrieving sperm directly from the testis.


Testicle or male gonad.

Treatment cycle

a) IVF with fresh embryos: a cycle begins with the administration of drugs for the purpose of superovulation or, if no drugs are used, with the attempt to collect eggs;
b) IVF with frozen-thawed embryos: a cycle begins with the removal of the stored embryo in order to be thawed and then transferred;
c) DI: a cycle begins when the first insemination with donor sperm takes place.
Unknown outcome
The outcome of a clinical pregnancy is unknown due to incomplete information being returned by a clinic to the HFEA.

Unstimulated cycle

No drugs were given to stimulate egg production.

Zona drilling (ZD)

Acid released to dissolve the gelatinous coating of the egg leaving a hole through which the sperm can enter.

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