As if beginning the journey into assisted conception isn’t overwhelming enough, you’re having terms thrown at you or reams of paper with what can sometimes be never-before-seen terms on.
What on earth do they all mean?
And how are you supposed to make sense of them?
To help you understand everything you’re reading, here we share Nurture 4 Life’s simplified IVF dictionary …
ART: Assisted Reproductive Technologies. If you’re reading this then you’re either about to embark on one of them or already are.
IVF: In-Vitro Fertilisation. IVF is a form of ART where the sperm fertilises the egg outside of the body, in a sterile environment, and is then transferred back into the uterus in the hope of a positive outcome and continuation of the pregnancy. There are also several different kinds of IVF, natural, mild, long and short protocol.
IUI: Intra-Uterine Insemination. It is what is says – insemination takes place within the uterus. So if you were undergoing a natural IUI, your consultant would monitor your natural cycle and would simply place the sperm into a catheter and into your uterus to hopefully fertilise the egg. There are many different types of IUI but this is the simplified version!
ICSI: Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection. This involves the same process as IVF but includes the extra step of taking the best sperm from the semen sample and injecting it directly into the egg before it is transferred into your uterus.
IMSI: Intra-Cytoplasmic Morphologically-Selected Sperm Injection. This is almost exactly identical to ICSI, just using a higher-powered microscope to select the sperm before injecting it into the egg. The microscope used in ICSI treatments generally magnifies the sperm sample up to 400 times. With IMSI, the type of microscope used magnifies the sample up to 6000 times.
FET: Frozen embryo transfer. Your eggs collected from a previous IVF cycle were fertilised and then frozen and will now be defrosted and implanted into your uterus.
ET: Embryo Transfer. Once your eggs have been collected, fertilised and monitored, it’s time to pop them back into your uterus and pray that one implants beautifully.
EC: Egg Collection. When you’ve been injecting yourself with your stimulation drugs for the last 10 days or so and your ovarian follicles are at a good size to be collected.
Down Reg/Down Regulation: The start of your IVF cycle (on day 21 of your cycle if you are on the standard long protocol) where you begin sniffing a nasal spray which prevents stimulation of Follicle Stimulating Hormone and Lutenising Hormone and will prevent ovulation occurring.
Stims/Stimulation: After you’ve been sniffing your way through the Down Regulation phase of your IVF cycle and your uterine lining has nicely thinned, it’s time to focus on developing lots of lovely ovarian follicles from which the eggs will be extracted. Your stimulation injections will work on doing just this.
OHSS: Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome. Although you want as many healthy ovarian follicles/eggs as possible, this is something that they will try to avoid. The cause of OHSS isn’t definitively known but ovarian blood vessels sometimes react abnormally to the levels of HCG in your body and begin to leak fluid which can swell your ovaries and then move into your abdomen.
Blastocyst: A developing group of cells that will eventually form the embryo.
PUPO: Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise. Your embryo is firmly in-situ.
TWW: Two Week Wait. Now is the time to find a really absorbing hobby find a level of patience you never thought was possible!