Useful Resources

Understanding some of the phrases and abbreviations used in fertility

Blastocyst: A blastocyst is an embryo that has been developed for longer after fertilisation, to day five of development instead of day three.

DI: is short for Donor Insemination, when donor sperm is inserted into the womb to fertilise the egg.

Down regulation: ‘Down regulation’ is the term used when your natural ovarian function is ‘switched off’ during your treatment cycle through the use of fertility medications.

Donor Bank: If you need donor sperm or eggs to have your baby, we can offer you treatment with our own dedicated, UK egg and sperm donor bank.

Egg Freezing: Egg freezing is a method of fertility preservation, which allows women to freeze eggs for later use when they might like to start a family.

Embryo Freezing: once the egg and the sperm have successfully fertilised, we can freeze the embryo created. We use a newly developed freezing method called vitrification to rapidly freeze the embryo to ensure the best preservation. This will then be inserted back into the womb later.

ERA Test: The Endometrial Receptivity Array Test (ERA) is a genetic test and a new method of assessing when the endometrium (the membrane that lines the inside of your uterus) is receptive to the embryo, in order to give a personalised embryo transfer to help evaluate your endometrial receptivity from a molecular perspective.

Frozen Embryo Transfer: Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) is a procedure that allows you to use embryos created by a previous IVF cycle. When multiple good embryos are created during your IVF cycle, only one or two of them may be transferred back into your uterus.

HyCosy: Hysterosalpingo-contrast-sonography (usually called HyCoSy), is a straightforward procedure which is used to look at the fallopian tubes and to check for abnormalities of the uterus and ovaries. This is where a dye is passed into the uterus, and the doctor tracks it using an ultrasound scan.

Hysteroscopy: Hysteroscopy is a procedure where a very thin telescope camera is used to view the inside of your womb. It is used to investigate different conditions of the uterus such as polyps, fibroids, septum or scarring inside the uterine cavity.

ICSI: stands for Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection. This is where an individual sperm cell is inserted directly into the egg cell.

Induction of Ovulation: involves stimulating your ovaries to produce an egg. This technique is used if you are failing to ovulate, but you have normal fallopian tubes and your partner’s sperm is normal.

Implantation: after the successful fertilisation of the egg and the sperm, forming an embryo, the embryo is placed back into the womb.

IUI: IUI involves directly inserting specially washed sperm into a woman’s womb at the most fertile point of her cycle. Doctors use hormone blood tests and monitoring scans to keep track of the cycle and pinpoint the time at which ovulation occurs.

IVF: stands for In Vitro Fertilisation, it involves the fertilisation of an egg and a sperm outside of the body. ‘In vitro’ means ‘in glass’.

LH surge: Luteinising Hormone is released naturally just before ovulation. Your ‘LH surge’ indicates when ovulation is about to happen, usually in the next 12 to 24 hours.

Luteal phase: The luteal phase is the second half of your menstrual cycle. It begins straight after ovulation, and it lasts until you start your next period. The average luteal phase is around 14 days, and during this time your body prepares for the possibility of pregnancy. Progesterone is released to thicken the womb lining ready for a fertilised egg.

Partner IVF: This is a way for partners in a same-sex relationship to both be part of the treatment cycle. Eggs are collected from one partner and fertilised with donor sperm, the resulting embryo is then implanted into the other partner. So one partner uses her eggs, the other carries and baby and gives birth.

Modified Natural Cycle IVF: Modified Natural Cycle IVF is where a small dose of medication is given for 3-4 days in order to keep the follicles healthy and growing. This allows us to collect 1-2 eggs from a cycle.

Semen Analysis/Male Fertility MOT/Check up: Our detailed semen analysis looks at the density, morphology and mobility of your sperm.

Sperm Freezing: we perform Sperm Freezing through vitrification. The sample will be frozen by our embryologists using vitrification technology, an advanced fast-freezing. Once frozen, the sperm can be thawed at your disposal, with very high survival rates from thawing.

Subcutaneous injections: Subcutaneous injections are medications that are injected just under the skin, compared to intramuscular injections that are injected directly into the muscle. Our fertility nursing team will give you practical injection teaching as part of your IVF cycle, so you confidently and safely administer the medications you need to at home.

Surrogacy: There are different types of surrogacy (partial, genetic, or straight surrogacy) which involve natural or artificial insemination of a surrogate. If the intended father’s sperm is used in the insemination, then the resulting child is genetically related to the intended father and genetically related to the surrogate.