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During your journey, you might encounter various scientific terms or acronyms. Our goal is to simplify things for you as much as possible.

That's why we've put together a glossary of terms below.


Amenorrhea: A lack of menstrual periods

Anovulatory/Anovulation: The lack or absence of ovulation

Anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH): A hormone that is produced by developing eggs in the ovary. The levels of this hormone can be used to assess egg reserves

Artificial insemination: A type of fertility treatment that involves directly inserting sperm into the vagina or uterus

Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART): A fertility procedure which involves bringing together an egg and sperm outside the body in a laboratory

Asthenozoospermia / Asthenospermia: Sperm with poor or reduced motility

Antisperm antibodies: Proteins on sperm causing

Azoospermia: The absence of sperm in ejaculate


Basal body temperature (BBT): Your temperature when you are fully at rest. When measured daily, this can help track ovulation

Blastocyst: Three days after fertilization, a healthy embryo will have around 6 to 10 cells. By the fifth or sixth day, the fertilized egg is called a blastocyst. This is a rapidly growing ball of cells.
Some cells inside will form the baby-to-be, while the outer ones will provide support and nourishment.

Blastocyst transfer: The transfer of a five-day-old embryo into the uterus.

Bifidobacterium: These anaerobic bacteria have a branching shape. They're commonly found in the gut but can also be found in the vagina and mouth. They help digest fibre, prevent infections and produce important compounds like B vitamins

Breastfeeding: When a baby consumes breast milk directly from the mother's breasts


Cervix: The opening to the uterus

Cervical mucus: A fluid that helps sperm travel into the uterus

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10): An antioxidant produced naturally by your body and is essential for growth and maintenance. Your CoQ10 levels decline with age.

Calcium: Essential for the development of your baby's bones and teeth

Clomid: Medication used to stimulate ovulation

Conceive: To start a pregnancy, which occurs when a sperm fertilizes an egg

Conception: When a sperm and egg unite to form a single cell, typically in the fallopian tubes, which then moves into the uterus and implants in the lining

Contraception: Methods used to prevent pregnancy

Contraction: The strong, rhythmic tightening of the uterus during labor. Strong and regular contractions dilate the cervix and push the baby through the birth canal


Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA): A lengthy molecule that holds our distinctive genetic blueprint

DNA fragmentation: Occurs when the DNA within sperm is damaged or breaks

Diminished ovarian reserve (DOR): Indicates a reduction in the number and/or quality of eggs

Donor conception: Donor conception means having a baby using donated sperm, or donated eggs or donated embryos

Donor eggs: Eggs donated to be fertilised for another recipient

Donor Insemination (DI):  Donor insemination is a treatment where donated sperm is placed directly into the womb to fertilise the eggs during fertility treatment.


EBF: Exclusive Breast Feeding

Ectopic pregnancy: A pregnancy in which a fertilised egg begins to develop outside the uterus normally used in reference to a pregnancy that develops in the fallopian tube

Egg collection: Procedure to gather eggs produced during an IVF/ICSI cycle, done under sedation or general anesthesia

Egg donation: The process where a woman donates eggs for another woman's IVF/ICSI treatment

Egg freezing: A treatment where a patient has their eggs collected and frozen for future use.

Egg sharing:  Egg sharing is when a patient who is already
having IVF donates some of their eggs to the clinic where they’re having treatment, usually in return for some free or discounted treatment. This is also sometimes referred to as 'benefits in kind.'

Embryo: An early-stage organism while it is within the uterus of the mother. Considered an embryo from fertilisation to 8 weeks

Embryologist: Embryologists are scientists involved in fertility treatment and reproductive research. They collect eggs, assess, and prepare sperm samples, and inject eggs with sperm. They also do very detailed procedures where they select a single sperm to fertilise an egg.

Embryo donation: Embryos are donated by patients who have been
through IVF treatment and have frozen embryos remaining in storage that they no longer wish to use. These frozen embryos are given for use in the treatment of another person or couple.

Embryo freezing:
Couples with good quality embryos they're not ready to use have the option of freezing them to use in the future or to donate.

Embryo transfer: A procedure post IVF/ICSI where embryos are placed back into the uterus

Endometriosis: A condition where uterine lining grows outside the uterus, commonly in the pelvic area, sometimes causing infertility

Endometrium: Uterine lining that thickens throughout the menstrual cycle and sheds during menstruation if no embryo implants

Estrogen: Female hormone mainly produced by ovaries, responsible for female secondary sex characteristics and reproductive system maintenance

Egg: A female reproductive cell produced in the ovary, fertilized by sperm to form an embryo

Embryonic stage: The second to eighth week after conception

Episiotomy: An incision made in the perineum to enlarge the vaginal before the emergence of the baby’s head


Fallopian tubes: Tubes connecting the uterus to the ovaries where fertilization usually occurs.

Fertilisation: A process where sperm penetrates the egg, potentially leading to pregnancy.

Fertility: The ability to conceive a baby and to become pregnant.

Fetus: Name given to a baby in the uterus from eight weeks of development until birth.

Fiber: A type of carbohydrate found in plant foods, aiding gut health; present in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and beans.

Fibroids: Non-cancerous growths that develop in or around the womb. You can have one fibroid or many, and they can be of different sizes. Fibroids are sometimes known as uterine myomas or leiomyomas.

Finding it difficult (FID): A term used to describe those who are struggling to conceive

Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH): A hormone from the pituitary gland promoting growth of egg-containing follicles in ovaries. In males it aids in sperm production.

Follicles: Fluid-filled sacs in ovaries where eggs can grow and develop. Visible through ultrasound despite egg's microscopic size.

Follicular tracking: Monitoring a woman's natural cycle for ovulation through scans.

Folate: Also known as vitamin B₉ (Vitamin B9) or folacin, found in green leafy vegetables, vital for health and converted from folic acid in the body.

Folic acid: A B vitamin, found in prenatal supplements and natural form, folate in leafy greens, preventing anaemia and reducing neural tube defects

Fresh embryo transfer: A fresh embryo transfer is one that occurs soon after egg collection.

Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET): Part of IVF where embryos from a prior cycle are frozen and later implanted into the uterus for improved success rates.

FTM: First Time Mum


Gametes: Male sperm and female eggs.

Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT): A method of assisted reproduction where sperm and eggs are collected, mixed, and then placed directly into the fallopian tubes.

Genetic Testing: If there's a chance that you or your partner could carry a genetic condition, you may be able to get genetic testing done on the NHS. This is a type of test that looks at your genes to see whether you carry a particular condition, and how likely you are to pass it on to your baby. If you're concerned about your family medical history, speak to your GP about genetic testing.

Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone (Gn-RH): A hormone that triggers the anterior pituitary gland to release follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone, which helps stimulate ovulation


Hormone: A chemical naturally produced by the body to regulate or adjust different bodily functions.

Hysteroscopy: A medical procedure involving the insertion of a thin instrument into the uterus to help the doctor see

Hydrosalpinx: A condition where a woman's fallopian tube is blocked due to an accumulation of fluid causing dilation at its end.


Immune system: The body's defense mechanism against infection and disease.

Implantation: When a developing embryo attaches to the lining of the uterus, necessary for pregnancy to progress.

In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF): Procedure where eggs are retrieved from the ovaries, fertilised outside the body, and then implanted back into the uterus.

Infertility: Inability to conceive after a year (6 months if the woman is over 35 years old) of unprotected intercourse or inability to carry a pregnancy to term.

Inositol: A naturally occurring sugar abundant in the body, involved in cell signaling and osmoregulation.

Insulin: Hormone regulating blood glucose levels, facilitating its absorption into body cells.

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI): Procedure where a single sperm is injected directly into an egg, followed by implantation into the uterus.

Intrauterine insemination (IUI): An artificial insemination method where sperm is placed directly into the uterus during ovulation.


Junctional Zone: this is a special area in the uterus where the muscular wall meets the inner lining. It's important for pregnancy because it helps support the growing embryo.


Known Donor: someone known to the recipient personally who provides sperm or eggs for assisted reproductive procedures


Labor: Process of childbirth involving uterine contractions, cervical dilation, and delivery of the baby and placenta.

Laparoscopy: A keyhole surgery procedure using a camera to view pelvic organs through small incisions.

Lactobacillus: Bacteria known for producing lactic acid and aiding in vaginal health.

Luteinizing hormone (LH): Hormone triggering ovulation and aiding in the menstrual cycle.

Luteal phase: Stage in the menstrual cycle after ovulation, preparing the uterus for possible pregnancy.

Lycopene: Antioxidant found in tomatoes and other red fruits and vegetables.

L-Arginine: Amino acid promoting blood flow and hormone production.


Menopause: Menopause is when your periods stop due to lower hormone levels. This usually happens between the ages of 45 and 55.

Menstrual cycle: Regular monthly cycle involving ovulation and menstruation.

Menstruation: also known as ‘period’ is the part of the menstrual cycle when a woman bleeds from her vagina for a few days.

Miscarriage: the loss of a pregnancy before the fetus can survive outside the womb.

Midwife: Healthcare professional providing care during pregnancy, labor, and delivery with a focus on holistic care.

Motility: The ability for an organism to independently. Usually used to describe sperm, which move (swim) on their own.

Morning Sickness: Nausea and vomiting during early pregnancy.

Multiple Birth: The birth of more than one baby from a single


Neonatal: Period from birth to four weeks of age.

National Health Service (NHS): The UK's publicly funded healthcare system.


Oestrogen: Female hormone important for reproductive health.

Oligozoospermia: Low sperm count in ejaculate.

Ovarian cysts: Fluid-filled sacs on or in the ovaries.

Ovary: Female reproductive organ producing eggs and hormones.

Ovulation: Release of an egg from the ovary.

Ovulation induction: Medical treatment to stimulate ovulation.

Omega-3 fatty acids: Essential fats important for brain and eye development.

Oxytocin: Hormone triggering uterine contractions during childbirth.


Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS): Endocrine disorder affecting ovarian function.

Premenstrual tension (PMT): Symptoms preceding menstruation.

Progesterone: Hormone crucial for preparing the uterus for pregnancy.

Prenatal: Relating to the period before birth.

Postpartum: Period following childbirth.

Perinatal: Time surrounding birth.

Perineal massage: Technique to stretch the perineum before childbirth.

Placenta: Organ providing nutrients and oxygen to the fetus.

Postnatal period: Time after birth until several weeks later.


Quality of Embryos: this refers to how good or healthy embryos appear under a microscope. It's an important factor in fertility treatments like IVF because healthier embryos are more likely to lead to successful pregnancies.


Reciprocal IVF: also known as partner IVF or co-IVF, is a fertility treatment option for female same-sex couples where one partner provides the eggs, which are then fertilised with donor sperm or sperm from the other partner, and the resulting embryos are transferred to the uterus of the other partner for gestation.


Secondary infertility: Difficulty conceiving after having had a child.

Semen: Semen is the fluid that comes from a penis during ejaculation that contains sperm.

Sperm: Male reproductive cell.

Sperm count: Quantity of sperm in semen.

Sperm donation: Contribution of sperm to assist reproduction.

Spermatogenesis: Production of sperm.

Sperm motility: Ability of sperm to move effectively.

Sperm morphology: Shape and size of sperm.

Supplements: Nutrient-rich products taken alongside a balanced diet.

Surrogacy: The process of a patient carrying a baby on behalf of another person or family.

Stretch marks: Skin discoloration from stretching, common during pregnancy.


Testosterone: Male hormone aiding sperm production.

Thyroid: Gland regulating metabolism and other bodily functions.

Trimester: Three-month period during pregnancy.

Trying to conceive (TTC): Actively trying to become pregnant.


Ultrasound: Imaging technique used in prenatal care.

Unexplained infertility: Inability to identify the cause of infertility despite a complete evaluation of semen, ovarian reserve, ovulation, endocrinologic disorders and pelvic anatomy.

Uterus: Organ where fetal development occurs.


Vaginal microbiome: Microorganisms present in the vagina.

Varicocele: Enlarged veins in the scrotum affecting sperm quality.

Vitamin A: Essential for immune function, vision, and cell growth.

Vitamin B: Vital for nerve and red blood cell health.

Vitamin C: Antioxidant important for cell health.

Vitamin D: Regulates calcium and phosphate levels for bone health.

Vitamin E: Antioxidant aiding fertility and hormone levels.

Vaginal birth: Delivery of a baby through the birth canal.


Womb: also known as the uterus is a special part of a woman's body where a baby grows during pregnancy.


X-chromosome: one of the two types of sex chromosomes that determine a person's biological sex. Females typically have two X-chromosomes, while males have one X-chromosome and one Y-chromosome. These chromosomes carry genetic information that influences various traits and characteristics, including fertility.


Y-chromosome: one of the two sex chromosomes that help determine a person's biological sex. In males, the Y-chromosome pairs with an X-chromosome, while females typically have two X-chromosomes. The Y-chromosome carries genetic information that contributes to male traits and characteristics, including aspects related to fertility.

Yolk Sac: this is a membranous sac attached to the developing embryo that provides nourishment in the early stages of gestation


Zygote: Fertilized egg before embryonic development.

Zinc: Essential for cell growth and division, critical during pregnancy.


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