The SDFC Fertility Library

Welcome to our Fertility Library!

You will find a wealth of useful information in this section of our website, starting with the glossary below. You can also use the links in the menu to browse additional content. If something you are interested in is not covered here or if you have any questions, please contact us.


We have compiled the following glossary to help you navigate the medical terminology commonly associated with your fertility treatments. By studying these frequently used terms, you will feel empowered when you communicate with your doctors and other people involved in the process.

Assisted Hatching

"Assisted hatching" (AH) is an IVF technique that involves creating a small opening in the zona pellucida surrounding the fertilized egg. Assisted hatching is performed to weaken the wall of the embryo and thus improve the likelihood of successful hatching and embryo implantation.

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Blastocyst Transfer

A blastocyst is an embryo at an advanced stage of physiologic development when there are two cell types present: one group of cells that form the placenta, and another group of cells that form the fetus. Advances by our superb IVF laboratory staff have been able to provide the proper nutrients to grow embryos to this advanced stage of development.

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Egg Donation

In egg donation IVF, the egg donor may be anonymous, or the egg donor may be a sister, close friend or relative of the infertile woman. The egg donor is given fertility medications to stimulate her ovaries to produce multiple eggs. Hormone replacement is used to synchronize the recipient to the egg donor cycle.

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Egg Freezing

Oocyte cryopreservation or “egg freezing” is an up and coming technology, which is starting to be offered by IVF clinics worldwide. The concept of freezing eggs has been around for decades with little success until recently.

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There are many types of gonadotropins used alone or in combination for ovulation induction. They include hMG (human menopausal gonadotropin, Pergonal (R), Repronex (R), or Humegon (R)), FSH (follicle stimulating hormone, Fertinex (R), Follistim (R), or Gonal-F(R)), and hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin, Profasi (R), or Pregnyl (R)).

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Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is a laboratory procedure developed to help infertile couples undergoing In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) due to severe male factor infertility. ICSI involves the insertion of a single sperm directly into the cytoplasm of a mature egg (oocyte) using a microinjection pipette (glass needle).

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Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a fertility procedure in which sperm are washed, concentrated, and injected directly into a woman's uterus. In natural intercourse, only a fraction of the sperm makes it up the woman's genital tract. IUI increases the number of sperm in the fallopian tubes, where fertilization takes place.

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In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is a technology that introduces the female egg (oocyte) and male sperm together in a specialized culture medium where the chances of successful fertilization are greatly enhanced. The embryos are observed and grown in our IVF laboratory, where they are graded for quality and reintroduced to the recipient's uterus at a multicell embryo stage or later at the blastocyst embryo stage.

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Laparoscopy is a surgical technique we use to diagnose and treat a range of abdominal or pelvic problems through a scope (laparoscope) that is placed in the abdomen through a small incision. Typically, laparoscopy is performed under general anesthesia.

Male Infertility

The old saying that "it takes two to Tango" is especially true for couples trying to conceive. The importance of a complete and thorough evaluation of both partners in the relationship cannot be overestimated. After a complete diagnostic evaluation of both partners, the incidence of male factors accounts for 30-50% of the problems identified.

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One out of every three women age 18-45 has experienced a reproductive loss. Women experiencing miscarriage often receive no explanation for the cause of their miscarriage. The lack of advice regarding the future and what can be done to avoid another miscarriage is too often the case.

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Multiple Gestation

Multiple gestation refers to a pregnancy in which two or more fetuses are present in the womb. In the general population, this occurs in approximately 1 to 2 percent of pregnancies. However, with the use of fertility drugs such as clomiphene citrate or gonadotropins, and high-tech procedures such as In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF), multiple gestations are much more common.

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Ovulation Induction

Ovulation induction is a safe and effective means of restoring fertility in many of our female patients who do not ovulate or who ovulate infrequently. Additionally, it is used to produce multiple follicular development to have more opportunity for possible fertilization in the embryology laboratory.

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Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) is a technique that can be used during In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) procedures to test embryos for genetic disorders prior to their transfer to the uterus. PGD makes it possible for couples with serious inherited disorders to decrease the risk of having a child who is affected by the same problem.

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Sperm Retrieval

Men with no sperm at all in their ejaculate can now have their own child, because sperm can be retrieved from their testicle or epididymis and injected into their partner's eggs via intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). The highest pregnancy rates with this approach and the least pain and discomfort to the male require that these sperm retrieval procedures be performed microsurgically.

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Once the surrogate has been selected and surrogacy screening has been completed, the cycles of the surrogate and gestational surrogate will be synchronized. The gestational surrogate undergoes the treatment for a routine IVF cycle while the surrogate's uterus is being prepared to receive the embryos.

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