Advanced Embryo Selection

A preimplantation genetic test that enables the selection and transfer of embryos that are likely to have normal chromosomes.

Anti sperm antibodies

Antibodies [that can develop in the bodies of either men or women] block the movement or function of the sperm


A collective term for fertility treatments.

Assisted Hatching

The procedure in which the outer layer of the embryo [called the zona] is thinned by a laser to help the embryo implant more easily.

Assisted Reproductive Technology

A collective term used to describe fertility treatment.


The term for an embryo five days after fertilisation which has now developed a distinctive shape with different parts clearly identifiable within its fluid-filled cavity.


The neck of the womb.The embryo transfer normally involves passing a small soft catheter through this.

Clomiphene citrate

Clomifene (INN) or clomiphene (USAN) (also known as Clomifert), marketed as Clomid, is a selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM) that increases production of gonadotropins by inhibiting negative feedback on the hypothalamus. It is used mainly in female infertility, in turn mainly as ovulation induction to reverse oligoovulation or anovulation such as in infertility in polycystic ovary syndrome, as well as being used for ovarian hyperstimulation, such as part of an in vitro fertilisation procedure. Clomifene citrate is marketed under various trade names including Clomid, Serophene, and Milophene.

Curettage [D&C]

Having the contents or the lining of the uterus removed under anaesthetic, either by scraping it with an instrument [called a curette] or by suctioning out with a soft plastic tube.

Digital High Magnification

This is the most advanced method of performing MSOME selection of sperm for optimum fertilisation.

Donor insemination

The use of sperm from a male donor in order to achieve a pregnancy.

Ectopic pregnancy

A pregnancy that implants in the wrong part of the body most commonly in a fallopian tube.This pregnancy cannot develop in to a baby but can pose severe problems for the mother.

Egg collection

The stage of an IVF treatment cycle where the woman’s eggs are collected under vaginal ultrasound.


Once the egg has joined with the sperm it is called an embryo.

Embryo Transfer

The stage of an IVF treatment cycle where the embryo is transferred back to the woman’s uterus via a fine catheter.


The presence of the normal lining of the uterus [called the endometrium] in abnormal locations in the body such as the Fallopian tubes, ovaries and peritoneal cavity.


The membrane lining the inside of the uterus.

Fallopian Tube

The fallopian tube runs from the ovary to the uterus along which the egg normally travels and where the egg and sperm normally join together.


The sac of fluid that surrounds the egg and which can usually be seen on the ultrasound scan.

Follicle Stimulating Hormone [FSH]

A hormone produced and released from the pituitary gland, to stimulate the follicle [and thus the egg] to grow.

Follicular Phase

The first half of a woman’s ovarian cycle following menstruation and during which the follicles grow.


A word that describes both the male and female reproductive cells i.e. the sperm and egg.


The hormone that is produced by the embryo and is measured in a pregnancy test. Injections of hCG can be used to trigger maturation of the egg which is then followed by ovulation. Injections of hCG may also be used to maintain hormone levels in the second half [luteal phase] of the cycle.


An ultrasound procedure to test whether or not the fallopian tubes are blocked. It involves the injection of a dye through the cervix and into the uterus.


An area of the brain that produces hormones that control body temperature, appetite and the release of hormones from the endocrine glands.


A specialised x-ray procedure to test whether or not the fallopian tubes are blocked. It also involves the injection of a dye through the cervix and into the uterus.


A procedure normally carried out under anaesthetic where the cervix is dilated to allow a small camera to pass through the cervix into the lower end of the uterus to give a clear view of the lining of the uterus.

ICSI [Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection]

The fertility technique where a single sperm is selected and directly injected into an egg. High Magnification ICSI uses extremely high magnification to help sperm selection for specific patients.


The embedding of the embryo in the lining of the uterus 6-7 days after fertilisation.

IMSI [Intracytoplasmic Morphologically selected Sperm Injection]

This is the name of the technique where scientists inject MSOME selected sperm in to an egg to assist fertilisation. We use Digital High Magnification for this technique.

Intra-uterine Insemination [IUI]

Treatment that involves inserting the partner’s concentrated semen through the neck of the womb into the uterus itself close to the time of ovulation.

IVF [In Vitro Fertilisation]

The procedure, by which an egg and sperm are joined together outside the body, in a specialised laboratory. The fertilised egg [embryo] is allowed to grow in a protected environment for some days before being placed back [transferred] into the uterus.


Keyhole surgery that involves inserting a small telescope [laparoscope] through the abdominal wall so that the pelvic organs can clearly be seen.

LH [Luteinising Hormone]

A hormone produced and released by the pituitary gland. It is responsible for triggering ovulation.

Luteal Phase

The last 14 days of a menstrual cycle after ovulation.

MSOME [Motile Sperm organelle morphology examination]

Assessing sperm shape under very high magnification.

Oestrogen [or Estrogen]

The primary female hormone produced mainly from the ovary from puberty until the menopause.


The fully mature egg produced from the ovary each month.


PolScope uses polarised light to study the genetic material in the egg. The modern egg imaging system is now called Oosight. This can help with the ICSI process, as the scientist performing the procedure can see where the genetic material is located and avoid injecting through this spindle. However, a more important function is the careful study of the structure of the genetic material inside the egg, which allows us to identify which eggs have the best chance of implanting.

Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome [OHSS]

A condition where women over-respond to the fertility drugs and can develop severe fluid retention and abdominal swelling.


The female sex glands which produce eggs.


The time the egg is released.

Ovulation Induction

Medication used to stimulate growth and release of the eggs. This may be used in combination with Intra-Uterine Insemination.

Pituitary Gland

The gland located at the base of the brain, which controls most hormone functions in the human.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common female endocrine disorders. PCOS is a complex, heterogeneous disorder of uncertain etiology, but there is strong evidence that it can to a large degree be classified as a genetic disease.

Pre-implantation Genetic Testing [PGT]

Testing the genetic makeup of the embryo before it is transferred back into the woman.


The hormone produced by the ovary after ovulation to maintain the pregnancy.


The ejaculated fluid comprising sperm and other secretions of the sex glands of the male.


A sonohysterogram [ultrasound] or hysterosalpingogram [HSG] are diagnostic tests used to discover abnormalities in the uterine cavity and test if the fallopian tubes are normal.

Spermatozoa [sperm]

The male reproductive cells [gametes].

Ultrasound [scan]

A modified form of radar used to see the follicles in the ovary and pregnancy in the uterus.This may be done either through the abdomen or [more usual in IVF] through the vagina.

Uterus [womb]

The female reproductive organ that supports the developing fetus. It is the source of a woman’s menstruation.

Vas Deferens

The tube that transports the sperm from the testes.


A form of contraception for men where the vas deferens [the tube along which the sperm passes] is tied off or clipped.


Vitrification is the process of removing water from a blastocyst in an ultra-rapid manner. The cooling rates are over -1,200 degrees C/min, which reduces the presence of ice crystals inside the cells, and increases the survival and pregnancy potential of the blastocyst, as compared to previous slow-freeze methods.