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Glossary

Getting to terms with fertility lexicon can be tricky.

Here are a list of terms that you might come across, and what they mean in Layman's terms.

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A




Assisted Hatching


Right up until just before the egg or early embryo is implanted in the uterus, it's surrounded by a membrane (zona pellucida).


At some point, the embryo "hatches", or leaves this membrane. This rupturing of the zona pellucida is essential for the implantation of the released embryo. 


Sometimes, the embryo cannot leave the zona pellucida, so implamentation and therfore pregnancy cannot occur.


This can before several reasons. It could be due to a particularly thick egg membrane, or a hardening of the egg membrane, which can be observed especially in the eggs of older women or in frozen eggs.


If this is the case, embryos can be hatched with assisted hatching. This is done by applying a diode laser to the zona pellucida for a precise, minimally invasive hatch.

C




Cervical Mucus


Cervical mucus is a fluid produced by the glands in the cervix and the vagina. This fluid, or mucus, has two main functions: 


  • Germ protection: The mucus forms a layer which protects the cervix from infection.

  • Transport medium for sperm: The consistency of cervical mucus determines whether a man’s sperm can make its way through the vagina and into the uterus. 



Cervical mucus – Changes in the menstrual cycle


The hormones released from follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), oestrogen and luteinising hormone (LH) regulate egg development (maturation) as well as ovulation. These hormones are also responsible for changes in the consistency of cervical mucus over the course of the menstrual cycle. Cervical mucus is most commonly fluid and clear during the fertile days around ovulation, "egg-white" and stretchy in consistency. In this viscosity, it's much easier for sperm to enter the uterus. On non-fertile days, cervical mucus is cloudy and white, and is harder for the sperm to penetrate.



However, you cannot tell whether fertilisation has occurred based on cervical mucus. This can be established only if you miss your next period. 



Examination of cervical mucus during fertility treatment


Examining the cervical mucus is a basic part of the pre-fertility treatment diagnostic process to check whether the cervical mucus is ideal for transporting semen. To do this, the doctor will take a sample of the mucus around ovulation which will then be sent to the laboratory for examination.



The compatibility test – sperm-cervical mucus contact test (SCMC)


Alongside the cervical mucus examination, a compatibility test with a sperm sample is usually also performed. These tests involve determining how well the sperm can move around in the cervical mucus and how high the sperm survival rate is. If the sperm struggles at this stage, then this could provide a diagnosis for the fertility struggles. Artificial insemination in these cases could be a good treatment option, however other treatments may also be available.

E




Embryoscopy (time lapse)


An embryoscope is a device which keeps the egg cells/embryos incubated from the moment of fertilisation until they are transferred into the uterus. It ensures a perfectly stable environment by constantly monitoring and adjusting temperature, pH, etc so that the embryo can develop properly. It's fitted with a microscope so that staff can keep an eye on the embryo at all times.


For further information on the uses of this technology please speak to the physician in charge of your care.

F




FSH - Follitropin


Recombinant follicle-stimulating hormone – Preparation for artificial insemination


Follitropin is a biotechnologically produced follicle-stimulating hormone which imitates the effect of the body’s own FSH.



What effects does FSH have on the body?


Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) is a hormone that is formed in the pituitary glands of both men and women. It is responsible for the:


  • genesis and functionality of testicles and ovaries

  • production and maturation of egg and sperm cells


In the female body, FSH plays a major role in the menstrual cycle. In the first half of the woman's cycle, FSH is released in a high concentration and this stimulates follicle maturation. These maturing follicles release oestrogen, which, in turn, inhibits the strong production of FSH. In the end, only one ovarian follicle matures and this follicle is used in the next ovulation.


In men, FSH is responsible for sperm formation (spermatogenesis).


FSH deficiency as a cause of infertility


FSH deficiency can come from several factors. In women, the symptoms of FSH deficiency is that ovulation doesn't occur or is irregular. In men, sperm quality is effected. The exact cause of FSH deficiency can be determined using blood tests, a CT scan or simulation test.

 


Follitropin in artificial insemination – Effect and application


Follitropin can be administered to both men and women in fertility treatments such as IVF or ICSI


  • The hormone allows for better control over the development and maturation of eggs, and increases the likelihood that multiple eggs can be retrieved for use in artificial insemination treatment.

  • Sperm production can also be increased with the administration of follitropin. 


Depending on what's required during treatment, either one or both partners can be treated with follitropin. The hormone is administered, usually by the patient, under the skin (subcutaneously) via a same-time-daily injection in the thigh or the abdominal crease. Once enough egg and sperm cells have matured, ascertained usually by a blood sample, follitropin administration can stop.


Adverse side effects from treatment with follitropin can include rashes at the injection site or headaches. We will inform you in detail about these side effects at the clinic before treatment starts.

P




PN-Scoring


By selecting the best fertilised eggs ( those with optimum distribution patterns), it is possible to choose the cells with the best pregnancy prognoses. This can be determined through a digitalised, image-generating method called PN-scoring.

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