Common Fertility Acronyms Parents

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For those trying to conceive, or for those interested in alternative ways to have a child, understanding the common fertility acronyms can help you grasp what your care provider and others are talking about. We have created a list of some of the most common fertility acronyms to assist you throughout your journey.

ART: What is Assisted Reproductive Technology?

Assisted Reproductive Technology, also known as ART, is an umbrella term used to describe the various fertility treatments that helps sperm make its way to fertilizing the egg. Types of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) include in vitro fertilization (IVF), intrauterine insemination (IUI) and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). ART can also be used to describe various fertility medications which can help induce ovulation.

REI and RE: Reproductive Endocrinology Infertility and Reproductive Endocrinologist

REI and RE stand for Reproductive Endocrinology Infertility (the specialty) and Reproductive Endocrinologist (the doctor). These terms are used within Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) care or when complex reproductive endocrine conditions are evaluated. Depending on certain factors, REI may be recommended by your primary healthcare provider after 6 to 12 months of TTC.

OB-GYN: Obstetrician-Gynecologist

An Obstetrician-Gynecologist, most commonly referred to as a OB-GYN, is a doctor that specializes in gynecology and obstetrics. Within these fields of practice an OB-GYN has a wide scope of practice and usually works with patients from puberty through menopause.

IVF: What is In Vitro Fertilization?

In Vitro Fertilization, commonly referred to as IVF, is a form of fertility treatment where a doctor performs the steps of fertilization outside of the body. IVF uses the patient’s retrieved eggs, or eggs from an egg donor, and are fertilized with sperm to develop one or multiple embryos. Following fertilization, the embryos are then transferred into the uterus.

ICSI: What is Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection?

Often used alongside IVF, Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection, referred to as ICSI, is a form of Assisted Reproductive Technology where a doctor will inject one sperm into an egg collected during an egg retrieval procedure. This is all performed in a laboratory and is a direct route to embryo creation. Often times people with low counts of sperm, or low quality of sperm, can benefit from ICSI.

IUI: What is an Intrauterine Insemination procedure?

Intrauterine Insemination, known as IUI, is a procedure where sperm is placed directly into the uterus using a small catheter. The goal of this form of procedure is to increase the chances of fertilization by increasing the number of healthy sperm that reach the fallopian tubes. This procedure is performed when the woman is most fertile (post-ovulation).

AMH: What is a Anti-Müllerian Hormone?

An Anti-Müllerian Hormone (AMH), also known as Müllerian-inhibiting hormone, is a hormone that serves as a proxy for the ovarian reserve. By testing the level of AMH in the blood, doctors can gain a better understanding of menopause timing, possible IVF outcomes and polycystic ovary syndrome.

FSH: What is the Follicle-Stimulating Hormone?

The Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH) helps follicles grow and mature in your ovaries, allowing one of the follicles to release an egg during ovulation. Due to this, FSH is one of the most important hormones related to the reproductive system.

LH: What is the Luteinizing Hormone?

The Luteinizing Hormone (LH) is a hormone produced by gonadotropic cells in the anterior pituitary gland. The Luteinizing Hormone holds an important role in reproduction as it helps your body get ready for possible pregnancy and also helps you track your ovulation. Your body’s LH levels rapidly increase 24 to 48 hours before you ovulate, signaling your maturing follicle that it can release an egg (to be possibly fertilized).

E2: What is Estradiol?

Estradiol (E2) is one of the three types of estrogen produced by the ovaries to assist your body in preparing for egg fertilization. When a woman nears ovulation, their ovary will trigger a dominant follicle within to release an egg. Throughout the maturation process this follicle produces E2.

TSH: What is the Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone?

The Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone is a pituitary hormone that stimulates the thyroid gland to produce thyroxine. Having too high or too low TSH can indicate a hormonal imbalance which could make getting pregnant more difficult, unless properly treated. Doctors will often times check TSH levels if there is difficulty in getting pregnant and ideally look for a level of 2.5 before trying to conceive.

TWW/2WW: What is the Two-Week Wait?

When talking with a fertility specialist sometimes you might hear the phrase “two-week wait” to TWW/2WW. Following timed intercourse or fertility treatment doctors will recommend that you wait two full weeks after you ovulate before taking a pregnancy test. This waiting period corresponds to the time needed for an embryo to implant into the uterus and begin triggering the rise in the Human Chorionic Gonadotropin hormone, most commonly referred to as HCG.

HCG: What is the Human Chorionic Gonadotropin?

Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, known more frequently as HCG, is referred to as the pregnancy hormone. Since this hormone occurs naturally during pregnancy, it’s what all pregnancy tests look for to detect early pregnancy. In addition to being a hormone that can be tested to determine if you are pregnant, for those struggling with pregnancy, doctors can provide HCG injection to help your body ovulate.

BFP/BFN: What is a Big Fat Positive and Big Fat Negative?

The terms “big fat positive” (BFP) or “big fat negative” (BFN) relate to the at-home pregnancy results. Positive = pregnant while negative = not pregnant. These are not medically officially terms but are common in discussing the results of a pregnancy test.