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Infertility Terms A to C

Adhesions: rubbery or filmy bands of scar tissue often caused by a previous infection, surgery or endometriosis that attach to the surface of reproductive organs and the bowels or the bladder. Adhesions to or around the fallopian tubes and ovaries may block a tube and prevent an egg (oocyte) from meeting with a sperm.

Amenorrhea: the absence of menstruation

Anovulation: lack of ovulation

Artificial insemination: prepared or washed sperm is placed into the uterus using a specialized catheter. Also referred to as IUI (Intrauterine Insemination).

Autologous endometrial coculture: growth of embryos on top of a woman’s own endometrial (womb) cells.

Basal body temperature (BBT): a woman’s temperature upon first awakening in the morning. A rise of about one degree Fahrenheit is seen in the middle of the cycle to help predict ovulation. Charting of these temperatures is very popular but can be inaccurate.

Blastocyst: a more developed embryo, often referred to as a preimplantation embryo. It begins to implant into the uterine lining six to seven days after fertilization.

Bromocriptine: a medication used to treat abnormally high prolactin, which is a pituitary hormone responsible for breast milk production that may result in infertility and amenorrhea. Prolactin may be secreted in higher amounts due to pituitary brain tumors, chest wall trauma, breast implants or as a side effect of various medications.

Cervical mucus: the opening to the uterus is referred to as the cervix. It produces mucus that is normally thick, then becomes thin at the time of ovulation to help with the transport and survival of sperm.

Chlamydia: a sexually transmitted disease that may cause fallopian tube scarring or blockage. It is responsible for up to 50 percent of all pelvic inflammatory infections.

Chlamydia antibody test: A blood test used to determine previous exposure to chlamydia.

Clomiphene citrate: a commonly prescribed fertility drug that works by binding to the estrogen receptor causing increased release of FSH, follicle stimulating hormone. Pregnancy rates with Clomid and IUI (intrauterine insemination) are approximately five-10%, of which eighth percent are twins. FSH stimulates specialized cells in the ovary to produce estrogen that results in an increased number of oocytes (eggs).

Corpus luteum: responsible for progesterone production in the ovary after ovulation has occurred. It helps prepare the uterine lining for implantation. It appears as a cyst on the ovary and regresses if pregnancy does not occur. Otherwise, it continues to produce progesterone until the 10-12th week of pregnancy when the placenta takes over progesterone production.

Cryopreservation: the process of sperm or embryo freezing, and storage in liquid nitrogen.