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Abbreviations & Terms for terminology used within fertility

Terminology used with fertility - your handy reference guide

Terminology used within fertility can be very confusing, especially if you’ve just started treatment. To assist in your journey, we wanted to create a list of common abbreviations and terms used at Fertility Solutions. Please note, this list is not complete and comprehensive as other terms may be used by your Specialist or other Fertility Centres. 

Click here to download the full PDF Document. 


ACCESS: Australian National Fertility Support Network

AI: Artificial Insemination

Albumin: A protein found in blood, an essential ingredient in culture medium.

AMH: Anti Mullerian Hormone (indicates ovarian reserve / approx qty of eggs remaining)

ANZARD: Australian and New Zealand Assisted Reproduction Database

ANZICA: Australian and New Zealand Infertility Counselling Association

AO: Anovulatory (this means no ovulation is occurring)

ART: Assisted Reproductive Technology

ASAB: Anti-sperm Antibodies

Beta hCG: Quantitative Beta human chorionic gonadatrophin. (pregnancy test)

Blastocyst:  An embryo at around 5 days of age, which has begun to develop a fluid collection in the centre of the embryo.

Catheter: A long thin tube that is inserted into a body part eg urinary catheter into the bladder, or a transfer catheter into the uterus.

Cervix: The opening into the uterus from the vagina.

CF: Cystic Fibrosis.  A genetic condition occurring in 1 in 2000 babies, making the most common genetic disorder in Australia. Causes damage to the lungs leading to respiratory failure.

Chromosomes: Long strands of DNA containing all the genetic information. There are 2 set of 23 chromosomes in human, one from the sperm the other from the egg, making 46 in total.

Clomid: A medication used to trigger ovulation

Culture Medium: A mixture of water, salts, nutrients and proteins needed for survival of eggs, sperm and embryos in the laboratory.

CVS: Chorionic Villi Sampling

D&C: Dilatation and curettage. A surgical procedure used to obtain a sample of the endometrium, or to treat a miscarriage.

DET: Double embryo transfer

DNA: Deoxyribonucleic Acid, the chemical building blocks that make up the genes and chromosomes.

Downs syndrome: Or Trisomy 21. A chromosome disorder caused by an extra copy of chromosome 21. Occurs in about 1 in 800 births, more common in older mothers

GP: General Practitioner

E2: Oestradiol (also known as Estradiol or Estrogen)

EDD: Estimated due date

Embryo: A cluster of more than one cell that develops as a result of the fertilization of an egg with a sperm.

Endo or Endometrium: (The lining of the uterus).  Endo can also be referred to as Endometriosis.

EPU: Egg Pick-Up (procedure to collect eggs from the ovaries – also called OPU or oocyte pick up)

ET: Embryo Transfer

P4: Progesterone

FA: Freeze All

Fallopian Tubes: Thin tubes that start near the ovaries and end at the top of the uterus, carries eggs and sperm, this is where natural fertilization occurs, then the embryo passes through to the uterus.

Fertilisation: When an egg and a sperm join together to form an embryo.

FET: Frozen Embryo Transfer

Follicle: Small balloon of fluid that develops on the surface of the ovary, contains a single egg.

FS: Fertility Solutions

FSA: Fertility Society of Australia

FSB: Fertility Solutions Bundaberg

FSH (fSH): Follicle Stimulating Hormone (helps control the menstrual cycle and production of eggs by the ovaries). A hormone produced in the pituitary gland under the brain. Promotes the development of follicles on the ovary.

FSSC: Fertility Solutions Sunshine Coast

Genes: Pieces of information created by a code of DNA molecules. Many join together to form chromosomes

GnRH: Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone (a hormone responsible for triggering the release of FSH)

hCG: Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hormone detected by pregnancy tests). A hormone produced by the embryo, used as the basis on pregnancy tests. Also given as an injection to trigger ovulation or in the luteal phase

Hepatitis: An infectious disease affecting the liver. Hepatitis B and C are the more serious forms of this.

HIV: Human Immunodeficiency Virus. The cause of AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome).

Hormone: A chemical that is made by an organ and has effects on other tissues elsewhere in the body.

HRT: Hormone replacement therapy

HSG: Hysterosalpingogram. An X-ray test that shows the outline of the inside of the uterus and fallopian tubes. Used to check for blocked fallopian tubes.

HyCoSY: Hysterosalpingo-Contrast-Sonography

ICSI: Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (a type of Assisted Reproductive Technology). Also called micro-injection. A single sperm is placed deep within the structure of a single egg using a very fine needle. Also called micro-injection.

Implantation: The process where an embryo burrows into the endometrium and begins to form a placenta so that a pregnancy occurs.

IMSI: Intracytoplasminc Morphologically Selected Sperm Injection (a type of Assisted Reproductive Technology)

Incubator: A piece of laboratory equipment that is used to maintain a strictly control temperature and balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide.

Insemination: The medical process of placing sperm inside a woman’s vagina or uterus in order to achieve a pregnancy.

Intercourse: Sex involving placing the penis in the vagina.

IUI: Intrauterine Insemination (a type of Assisted Reproductive Technology)

IVF: In Vitro Fertilization (a type of Assisted Reproductive Technology). Eggs and sperm are mixed in the laboratory to forms embryos used to try and achieve a pregnancy.

LH: Luteinising Hormone (a hormone that triggers ovulation). A hormone made by the pituitary gland that is involved in development and release of the egg. Important for development of progesterone production in the follicle after ovulation.

Luteal phase: The part of the cycle between ovulation and the next period (or positive pregnancy test).

LSP: Low Sperm Count

MESA: Microsurgical Epididymal Sperm Aspiration (a procedure to retrieve sperm directly from the epididymal tubule (testicle) in instances when the man has an unfixable blockage)

Metformin: a diabetes medicine sometimes used for lowering insulin and blood sugar levels in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

MF: Male Factor (the reason someone is having difficulties TTC)

Mosaicism: A genetic disorder that affects only some but not all of the cells of a developing embryo.

NT: Nuchal Translucency scan (an ultrasound done between 11 and 14 weeks of pregnancy to test for chromosomal abnormality – usually Downs syndrome)

NPSU: National Perinatal Statistics Unit

OCP: Oral contraceptive pill

Oestradiol: The main form of oestrogen hormone made by the follicles on the ovary. Causes development of the uterine lining.

OHSS: Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (a possible complication from some forms of fertility medication)

OI: Ovulation Induction (fertility treatment that induces ovulation to occur)

Oocyte: Egg, containing chromosomes from the mother.

OPU: Oocyte Pick-Up (procedure to collect eggs from the ovaries also called EPU)

Ovary: An organ deep within a woman’s pelvis close to the end of the fallopian tubes. Responsible for egg and hormone production.

Ovulation: The process of release of the egg from the follicle on the ovary.

PCO: Polycystic Ovaries 

PCOS: Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (a condition where follicles in a woman’s ovaries stall during development and form cysts instead of releasing an egg)

PESA: Percutaneous Epididymal Sperm Aspiration (a technique used to extract sperm when the man has a blockage of the vas deferens)

PICSI: Physiological Intracytoplasmic Sperm (a technique used in ICSI to help select the healthiest sperm)

Progesterone: A hormone produced by the ovary, mostly in the luteal phase. Supports the developing embryo.

Pro-nuclei: A circular structure seen inside the fertilised egg, contain one complete set of chromosomes. There are normally two – one from the egg and one from the sperm.

PV: Per vagina (medication administration)

RTAC: Reproductive Technology Accreditation Committee

SA: Semen Analysis

SET: Single embryo transfer

Semen: The fluid that is produced from the penis at ejaculation, it contains sperm and the nutrients needed for them to do their job.

SFA: Sperm functional assessment

SSC: Surgical Sperm Collection

Sperm: Small cells with a tail that are found in semen. Contains genetic information that merges with an egg (oocyte) to form an embryo.

Spina Bifida: An abnormality of development of the spinal cord that results in damage to the spine. The severity depends on where the problem is.

Surgical Sperm Collection (SSC): Surgically collecting sperm directly from the testes under a local anaesthetic

Syphilis: An infection caused by the spirochaete Treponema pallidum. Sexually transmitted and can cause foetal abnormalities or long term brain injury if untreated. Can be tested for with a blood test. Treated with penicillin.

TB: Testicular Biopsy

TESE: Testicular Sperm Extraction. A technique to harvest sperm directly from the testicle.

TESA: Testicular Epididymal Sperm Aspiration

Testicle: The organ in men that is responsible for the production of sperm, located in the scrotum.

Trigger: hCG shot given to induce ovulation 

TSH: Thyroid Stimulating Hormone 

Turners syndrome: A chromosome disorder due to a missing X chromosome. The baby is female but generally infertile.

TVOPU: Transvaginal oocyte pick up

TVUSS: Trans vaginal ultrasound scan

USS or Ultrasound. A technology that uses sound waves to generate an image of internal structures.    

Uterus: Also called the womb. Sitting at the top of the vagina it is where the embryo normally implants and grows until ready for birth.

Vagina: The tube that connects the uterus to the outside of a woman’s body.

Zona pellucida: A thick layer around the outside of the egg.                 



Adenomyosis:  Endometrial tissue invading the myometrium

Amenorrhea:  Primary- no menstruation by age 16 years                               

CIN: Cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (related to PAP tests, can be 1, 2 , 3)

Dysmenorrhea: Painful periods

Dyspareunia: Painful sexual intercourse

Dysuria: Painful urination

Endometrium: Mucous membrane lining of the uterus

Fibroids: Non-cancerous tumours that can form in the various layers of the uterus

Laparoscopy:  Small incisions are made in the abdomen (belly), and a telescope is inserted to view the internal organs, and perform surgery

LNMP: Last normal menstrual period

LMP: Last menstrual period

Menorrhagia: Heavy/prolonged menstrual bleeding

Myometrium: Muscle layer of uterus

Pap smear: A scraping of cells collected from the surface of the cervix which is tested for abnormal cells that might lead to cancer of the cervix.

PID: Pelvic inflammatory disease

PCO/PCOS: Polycystic ovarian syndrome

PMS: Premenstrual syndrome

STD /STI: Sexually transmitted disease / infection

STM: Symtpo-thermal method of cycle/ovulation tracking

TTP: Time to pregnancy

Endometrial hyperplasia: abnormal thickening of endometrium

Blocked tubes: tubal occlusion

Leiomyoma: Fibroid



APH: Antepartum (prior to birth) haemorrhage

EDC /B: Estimated date of confinement / birth

FHR: Fetal heart rate

GDM: Gestational diabetes mellitus

PPH: Post partum (post delivery) haemorrhage

PET: Pre-eclamptic toxaemia

PHTN / PIH: Pregnancy induced hypertension (HTN)

ROM/PROM: Rupture of membranes / Premature Rupture of Membranes

LUSCS:  Lower Uterine Segment Caesarean Section

M/C or Miscarriage: The loss of a pregnancy prior to 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Neural Tube Defect: A group of abnormalities of the brain and spinal cord, includes anencephaly and spina bifida.

NVD / NVB: Normal vaginal delivery/birth (same as SVD)

Rubella: Also known as German Measles. A viral infection causing fever, rash and flu like symptoms. Can cause foetal abnormalities if it occurs during pregnancy. A vaccine is available.

SVD / SVB: Spontaneous vaginal delivery/birth (same as NVD)

VE: Vacuum extraction. VE can also refer to vaginal examination.

We hope you find this to be a useful reference guide of the terminology used within fertility. 

Please note, this list is not complete and comprehensive as other terms may be used by your Specialist or other Fertility Centres. Although Fertility Solutions has made every effort to ensure the accuracy and completeness of information contained in this information and document, we assume no responsibility for errors, inaccuracies, omission or any inconsistency herein. If you are unsure of anything, please ask your local doctor or contact Fertility Solutions.