Project Description


Here is the glossary of our IVF-related terms.


Assisted Insemination by Donor, better known as ‘sperm donation’, refers to usage of sperm, provided by a male donor, for the purpose of insemination of a woman, who is not his sexual partner.


Artificial insemination (of a woman) using husband’s sperm.

Antagonist Injection

performed on a daily basis during 1-4 days preceding the trigger injection in order to suppress ovulation until the follicles have matured. It is given alongside the FSH injections.

Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ARTs)

The collective name for all techniques used artificially to assist women to carry children, including IVF


A lower than normal number of sperm in the ejaculate of a man.


The complete absence of sperm from the ejaculate of a man.


An embryo that has developed for five to six days after fertilisation.


A cell taken (by biopsy) from a blastocyst.


The narrow passage at the lower end of the uterus (womb), which connects to the vagina.


The process which occurs to the zygote (cell formed by fertilisation) to result in a blastocyst.


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


A Person who consents to allow their gametes or embryos to be used in the treatment of others.

Donor Insemination (DI)

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


The gamete produced by females during their monthly cycle. The egg is also known as an oocyte.

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 used for looking into the abdomen) and a needle. Also known as egg retrieval.

Egg donation

The process by which a fertile woman donates her eggs to be used in the treatment of others or for research.

Egg Retrieval

A procedure conducted for the purpose of follicular aspiration.

Egg sharing

An arrangement where a woman seeking IVF treatment undergoes one cycle of treatment in which her eggs are recovered. She then uses a proportion of these eggs in her own treatment and donates the remaining eggs to another woman. The woman donating her eggs may receive benefits such as reduction in the cost of her treatment.


A fertilized egg that has the potential to develop into a fetus.

Embryo Development

“culturing” of the embryos for two to five days until the embryo transfer.

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 storage

The storage of one or more embryos for future use by freezing (cryopreservation).

Embryo transfer

The replacement of embryos back into the female patient.


The penetration of an egg by a sperm and the formation of an embryo from this. Naturally fertilisation occurs in the woman’s body (in vivo) but it can also occur in the laboratory (in vitro). Fetus 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.

Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH)

Hormone produced by the pituitary gland which stimulates the production of follicles by the ovary. Used in assisted conception to stimulate the production of more than one follicle (ovulation induction).

Fresh and frozen cycles

In most cases, the eggs collected from a patient are mixed with her partner’s fresh sperm to produce embryos within a few days. These fresh embryos are then transferred back to the patient. Where the patient´s body is not ready to receive the embryos, or where an excess of embryos is available, these embryos may be cryogenically frozen for future use. Once thawed, these embryos are transferred to the patient as a frozen cycle.


The male sperm or female egg which fuse together to form a zygote.

Gonadotrophin Releasing Hormone (GnRH)

Hormone released by the hypothalamus which stimulates the pituitary to produce Luteinising Hormone (LH) and Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH).

Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin (HCG)

A protein hormone. Its presence in the maternal blood or urine indicates pregnancy.


The process whereby an embryo, after travelling through the fallopian tube to the uterus, embeds itself in the lining of the uterus.


The placing of sperm in the female reproductive tract by artificial means. Can be performed using either freshly ejaculated sperm or sperm that has been frozen.

Intra Uterine Insemination (IUI)

Insemination of sperm into the uterus of a woman.

In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)

Patient’s eggs and her partner’s or donor’s sperm are collected and mixed together in a laboratory to achieve fertilisation outside the body. The embryos produced may then be transferred into the female patient.

In vitro

Performed outside the body (i.e. in the laboratory).

In vivo

Performed in the body. Natural cycle an ivf procedure with the absence of hormone therapy, using the single follicle that grows naturally.


Low sperm count – less than twenty million sperm per millilitre. It can be severe – less than five million sperm per milliliter.


The female gamete (egg).


The release of an egg from a follicle in the ovary.


The female gamete (egg).


The gamete (or mature male germ cell) produced by the male, usually through ejaculation. Millions of sperm are present in each ejaculate and roughly half of these will carry X chromosomes, the other half carrying Y chromosomes. A single sperm is called a spermatozoon.

Stimulated cycle

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

Stimulation Scan

An ultrasound scan, around day 6-8 of the cycle determining readiness to start the second series of injections, the antagonist injections.

Stimulation drugs

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


The process of a woman carrying a baby for another person. Full surrogacy involves the implantation of an embryo created using either the eggs and sperm of the intended parents, a donated egg fertilised with sperm from the intended father or an embryo created using donor eggs and sperm. Partial surrogacy involves sperm from the intended father and an egg from the surrogate.


Poor sperm morphology (shape) which cause infertility.

Treatment cycle

One complete licensed treatment. Commences with administration of drugs or first insemination.

Trigger Injection

Once an optimal number and size of mature follicles is reached, an hCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin) injection is used to induce the final maturation of oocytes. Egg retrieval takes place approximately 36 hours later.

Unstimulated cycle

No drugs are given to stimulate egg production. Also known as a natural cycle.


The process of gamete or embryo storage (cryopreservation) that avoids ice crystal formation by the use of high cooling rates and a high concentration of cryoprotectant.


The cell formed as a result of fertilisation.
*as listed by HFEA