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.