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The HRC Fertility Blog is a resource for patients and those seeking infertility related issues and articles. Check back often or subscribe to this blog as it is changed weekly by the HRC staff.

Do You Know Your (Infertility) ABCs?

Do You Know Your (Infertility) ABCs?


by Jennifer Bright Reich

Some signs that you’re a parent are unmistakable. You have wrinkles, spit-up, or mac ’n cheese sauce on your shirt. You talk to yourself. A lot. Little-kid songs pop into your head at the strangest times.

So it’s not surprising that when I was asked to put together a description of some common infertility terms, I thought of the “ABC Song.” And then, of course, I felt challenged to find interesting infertility terms from A to Z.  So, I offer this list as a kind of a “cheat sheet” to bring with you to your next fertility appointment.  And, if you should devise a song to help others remember, let us know!



Azoospermia: The absence of sperm in the ejaculate.

Blastocyst: An embryo that has developed for approximately five days after fertilization.

Chocolate cyst: An ovarian cyst that is filled with old blood.

Dyspareunia: Painful sex.

Epididymis: The elongated organ in the male that lies above and behind the testicles.

Follicle: A structure in the ovaries that holds a developing egg.

Gamete: A reproductive cell (either a sperm or an egg)

H is for HRC FERTILITY of PASADENA – where we hope that you will come if you are struggling with fertility or want to know options for building a family

In vitro fertilization (IVF): A procedure during which an egg is removed from a mature follicle and fertilized by a sperm, outside of the body.

J: Ok, I am stumped here. There are just no J fertility terms. But, you can get a “JUMP-START” on learning more about fertility by clicking on this informational link: Fertility Education

Karyotyping: A test performed to check chromosomes for genetic defects.

Laparoscopy: A surgical procedure in which a fiber optic instrument (a laparoscope) is inserted through a small incision in the abdomen to view the inside of the pelvis.

Micro Epididymal Sperm Aspiration (MESA): A surgical procedure to retrieve sperm from the duct that stores sperm as it matures.

Necrospermia: A condition in which sperm are produced but are found dead in the semen and are unable to fertilize eggs.

Oocyte: An egg; the female reproductive cell.

Prolactin : A hormone produced by the pituitary gland that can hinder normal ovulation when elevated. Also, P is for PASADENA where we are located.  You can access more information about our center and Pasadena here .

Questions: The one thing to bring with you to every visit with your fertility specialist.

Resistant ovary: An ovary that cannot respond to the follicle-stimulating message sent by the follicle-stimulating hormone.

Sperm wash: A technique that separates sperm from seminal fluid.

Testicular Sperm Extraction (TSE): A surgical technique used to retrieve viable sperm from the testicles of men who cannot give a sperm sample by other methods.

Ultrasound: A technique using sound waves to visualize the uterus and ovaries, the growth of ovarian follicles during infertility treatment, or a fetus in the uterus.

Varicocele: Varicose veins in the scrotum

Womb: Another word for uterus. (I’m reaching here; I know!)

X chromosome: The congenital, developmental, or genetic information in the cell that transmits the information necessary to make a female.

Y chromosome: (Didn’t see that one coming, did ya?) The genetic material that transmits the information necessary to make a male.

Zygote: a fertilized egg

And in tribute to the infamous ABC song…

Now you know your ABCs, know that I’m thinking of you on your fertility journey.


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