Your Complete Guide to IVF Terminology and Acronyms


Your Complete Guide to IVF Terminology and Acronyms


According to a study by the National Perinatal Epidemiology and Statistics Unit (NPESU) at UNSW, 16,310 babies were born in Australia and New Zealand in 2019 as a result of IVF treatment, making it a popular option for couples who need assistance conceiving. However, despite the procedure's rising popularity, there is still a lot of misinformation surrounding it.

The first thing you might notice while conducting your research is the absurd number of acronyms and medical jargon that appear. I know I did when I joined an IVF support Facebook group. And yes, as you continue with treatment, many of these start to make more sense, but no matter how many times you hear them, some of them can still befuddle you.

Here are the most significant IVF abbreviations and words you might encounter to aid in your preparation:


Advanced embryo selection is the process of choosing and transferring the embryo with the best chance of success using a preimplantation genetic diagnosis test that examines every chromosome in a developing embryo.

Assisted Hatching (AH) is the process in which a laser is used to thin the zona, the embryo's outer layer, to facilitate easier implantation.

Anti-sperm antibodies: Sperm motility or function is blocked by antibodies, which can form in either males or women's bodies.

Assisted Reproductive Technology, or ART, is the umbrella term for fertility procedures.


Blastocyst: The word for an embryo five days after fertilisation which has now formed a distinctive shape with different sections discernible and a fluid-filled hollow.

Cervix: The womb's neck. To transfer the embryo, a small, soft catheter is typically inserted through this.

Curettage (D&C): The removal of the uterine lining or its contents under anaesthesia, either by scraping it out with a tool called a "curette" or by suctioning it out with a flexible plastic tube.


Digital High Magnification: The most sophisticated approach for performing MSOME sperm selection for the best fertilisation is Digital High Magnification.

Donor insemination: The process of conceiving a child using a male donor's sperm.


Ectopic pregnancy: When a pregnancy develops in the wrong location on the body, usually a fallopian tube. Although this pregnancy cannot result in a baby, it might cause the mother serious issues.

Egg collection: The stage of an IVF treatment cycle where a woman's eggs are obtained using vaginal ultrasonography is known as egg collection.

Embryo: An embryo is what the egg looks like after the sperm and egg have united.

Embryo transfer: A tiny catheter is used to transfer the embryo during the embryo transfer phase of an IVF treatment cycle back into the woman's uterus.

Endometriosis is the condition in which the endometrium, the typical uterine lining, appears in unusual bodily cavities like the peritoneal cavity, ovaries, and Fallopian tubes.

Endometrium: The tissue that lines the uterus inside.


Fallopian tube: The fallopian tube connects the ovary to the uterus and is where the egg normally travels before joining the sperm.

Follicle: The fluid-filled sac that envelops the egg and is typically visible during an ultrasound scan.

Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH): The pituitary gland produces and releases the hormone known as follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which encourages the growth of the follicle and, by extension, the egg.

Follicular phase: The first half of a woman's ovarian cycle after menstruation, known as the follicular phase, is when the follicles grow.


Gamete: A term that designates both the sperm and the egg, which are the male and female reproductive cells.

HCG: A pregnancy test measures this hormone, which the embryo produces. The maturation of the egg and subsequent ovulation can be triggered by hCG injections. Additionally, hCG injections can be utilised to keep hormone levels stable during the luteal phase of the cycle.

HyCoSy: An ultrasound procedure to check for fallopian tube obstruction. A dye is injected via the cervix and into the uterus in this procedure.

Hypothalamus: A region of the brain called the hypothalamus makes hormones that regulate body temperature, appetite, and the secretion of hormones from the endocrine glands.

Hysterosalpingogram: A specialised x-ray treatment called a hysterosalpingogram is used to determine whether or not the fallopian tubes are blocked. Additionally, a dye is injected into the uterus after passing through the cervix.

Hysteroscopy: A small camera is inserted through the cervix and into the lower end of the uterus during a hysteroscopy operation, which is typically done under anaesthesia to get a clear view of the uterus lining.


ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection): The fertility procedure known as ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection) involves choosing a single sperm and injecting it right into an egg. High Magnification Sperm selection for certain patients is aided by the use of extremely high magnification in ICSI.

Implantation: 6-7 days after fertilisation, the embryo implants itself into the uterine lining.

IMSI (Intracytoplasmic Morphologically selected Sperm Injection): It refers to a method whereby MSOME-selected sperm is injected into an egg to aid in fertilisation. For this method, we make advantage of digital high magnification.

Intra-uterine Insemination (IUI): A procedure in which concentrated semen from the partner is inserted into the uterus just before ovulation through the womb's neck.

IVF (In Vitro Fertilisation): The process by which an egg and sperm are fused together outside the body, in a specialised laboratory, is known as IVF (In Vitro Fertilization). The fertilised egg (embryo) is given a few days to develop in a safe environment before being returned (transferred) into the uterus.


Laparoscopy: A keyhole procedure in which a tiny telescope (laparoscope) is inserted through the abdomen wall to provide a clear view of the pelvic organs.

Luteal phase: The final 14 days of a menstrual cycle, starting with ovulation.

LH (Luteinizing Hormone) is a hormone that the pituitary gland secretes. It is in charge of starting ovulation.


SOME (Motile Sperm Organelle Morphology Examination): Sperm shape evaluation at extremely high magnification is known as MSOME (Motile Sperm Organelle Morphology Examination).


Oocyte: The completely developed egg that is released monthly from the ovary.

Onsight: Before ICSI fertilisation, the chromosomal spindle—the egg's genetic material—is located, shaped, and evaluated using the sight method.

Oestrogen, also known as estradiol, is the principal female hormone generated mostly by the ovary from puberty until menopause.

Ovary Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS): A medical syndrome in which women overreact to reproductive medications and may experience severe fluid retention and abdominal swelling.

Ovaries: The female sex organs that create eggs.

Ovulation: During ovulation, the egg is expelled.

Ovulation Induction: Drugs that encourage the development and release of eggs. Combining it with intrauterine insemination is an option.

Pituitary Gland: The gland, which regulates the majority of human hormone functions, is situated at the base of the brain.


Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD): Testing the genetic makeup of the embryo before it is placed back into the woman.

Progesterone is the hormone that the ovary produces to keep the pregnancy going after ovulation.


Semen is the fluid that males ejaculate, which contains sperm and other sex gland secretions.

Sonohysterogram: An ultrasound or hysterosalpingogram (HSG) is used to diagnose uterine abnormalities and determine whether the fallopian tubes are healthy.

Spermatozoa (sperm): The male reproductive cells are known as spermatozoa (gametes).


Uterus (womb): The female reproductive organ that houses the growing foetus is known as the uterus (womb). It is where a woman gets her period.

Ultrasound (scan): A modified form of radar called an ultrasound (scan) is used to see follicles in the ovaries and pregnancy in the uterus. Either the abdomen or—more frequently in IVF—the vagina may be used for this.


Vasectomy: A method of male contraception that involves cutting or tying off the vas deferens, which is the tube through which the sperm travels.

Vas Deferens: The sperm's passageway from the testicles.

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