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Antisperm Antibodies: An immune system response that causes the body to attack and kill off sperm. Both men and women can develop antisperm antibodies.

Artificial Insemination: See "Intrauterine Insemination"

Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART): An umbrella term that refers to treatments which involve removing a woman’s eggs, combining them with sperm and then transferring them back to the woman.

Azoospermia: The complete absence of sperm from the semen.

Basal Body Temperature (BBT): The core body temperature. Normal body temperatures can range from 96°F to 98°F but will increase by half a degree to one full degree when a woman ovulates. Women can measure their basal body temperature daily to determine when they are ovulating.

Erectile Dysfunction: See "Impotence"

Egg donation: The process in which one woman allows her eggs to be collected and used to help another woman get pregnant.

Embryo: When an egg and sperm join together, they create an embryo which may go on to develop into a fetus.

Embryo donation: The process in which a couple give away their embryos to be used by another woman so that she can become pregnant.

Endometriosis: When the endometrium (uterine lining) is found outside of the uterus. This condition can cause pain, scar tissue, bowel problems and infertility.

Estrogen: A hormone made by the female body that helps a woman’s eggs mature each month. It also sends a signal to the endometrium to start thickening.

Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH): A hormone secreted by the pituitary gland. In women, it is responsible for stimulating the maturation of egg follicles. In men, FSH is responsible for stimulating and maintaining sperm production.

Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT): An ART procedure that involves retrieving a woman’s eggs from her body and then placing them in her fallopian tubes with sperm where they will hopefully join together.

Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone (GnRH): A hormone that originates in the hypothalamus in the brain. In both women and men, it is responsible for signaling to the pituitary gland to start producing FSH and LH.

Hypogonadism: A disorder affecting men that can lead to infertility. It is caused by a lack of GnRH and therefore a testosterone deficiency.

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI): The process in which sperm are removed directly from a man’s testicles and a single sperm is directly injected into a woman’s egg.

Impotence: Also known as erectile dysfunction, impotence occurs when there is impaired blood flow to the penis, thereby preventing a man from achieving and sustaining an erection. Occasional impotence is normal but a prolonged period of impotence should be investigated.

Intrauterine Insemination (IUI): Also known as artificial insemination, IUI is the process in which sperm is deposited directly into a woman’s uterus using a catheter.

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF): A well-known method of ART, IVF involves a woman taking fertility drugs to stimulate ovulation. Her eggs are then retrieved by a doctor, combined with sperm and transferred back to her uterus after developing for a few days in a laboratory.

Lutenizing Hormone (LH): A hormone produced by the pituitary gland, in women it is responsible for the monthly release of an egg. In men, LH is responsible for starting the production of testosterone.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS): The presence of cysts on the ovaries that interfere with a woman’s reproductive system.

Premature Ovarian Failure (POF): Loss or dysfunction of the egg follicle causing a woman to have irregular periods or no periods at all.

Primary Infertility: The inability to conceive a child after a year of unprotected intercourse in couples who have no children.

Progesterone: A hormone that helps to improve the condition of the endometrium, making it more receptive to implantation.

Retrograde ejaculation: This condition causes a man’s sperm to be diverted to his bladder during orgasm, rather than being released through the tip of his penis.

Secondary infertility: The inability to conceive a child after a year of unprotected intercourse in couples who have one or more children.

Sperm donation: The process in which a man gives a sperm sample to a clinic or sperm bank so that it can be used to artificially inseminate a woman who wishes to be pregnant.

Surrogacy: When a couple asks or hires another woman to carry a child for them. The child may be biologically related to the couple, to the male partner and the surrogate, or be conceived using a donor egg, sperm or embryo.

Testosterone: A male sex hormone, it is produced in the testicles and aids in the production of sperm.

Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer (ZIFT): A combination of GIFT and IVF, ZIFT involves retrieving a woman’s eggs, combining them with sperm and then leaving the fertilized eggs to develop for one day. The resulting zygote is then placed in the woman’s fallopian tubes.

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