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Infertility Terms D to G

Donor oocytes: eggs donated to help achieve pregnancy in patients who have lost their ovaries, have premature ovarian failure or are at an advanced maternal age. Donors may be known to the recipient or anonymous.

Ectopic pregnancy: a pregnancy that occurs outside the uterus, usually in the fallopian tube, requiring either medication or surgical treatment.

Embryo transfer: the transfer of an embryo that has been fertilized in vitro from a dish into the uterus of a woman, as a result of in vitro fertilization.

Endometrial biopsy: uterine lining cells obtained through an office procedure, allowing the pathologist to directly determine the hormonal effects of progesterone. An inadequate amount of progesterone may lead to a condition known as luteal phase deficiency, which can cause infertility or recurrent pregnancy loss.

Endometriosis: uterine lining tissue found outside the uterus, often inside the peritoneal cavity on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, bowels and bladder.

Estrogen: steroid hormones produced by the ovaries starting at puberty and ceasing at menopause.

Fallopian tubes: pair of hollow structures leading from the area of the ovaries to the uterus. Fertilization occurs here. Blockages or scarring of the tubes are one of the most common causes of infertility.

Fertilization: the combining of genetic material of one egg and one sperm.

Fimbria: finger-like structures at the end of the fallopian tube that help pick up the egg from the ovary after ovulation.

Fimbrioplasty: surgical procedure to open up the constricted end of a fallopian tube.

Follicle: a fluid-filled sac on the surface of the ovary in which the maturing egg (oocyte) grows. It produces estrogen until release of the egg, when it becomes the corpus luteum that secretes progesterone.

Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH): in females, a gonadotropin (pituitary hormone) that stimulates estrogen production in the ovary and matures an oocyte. In males, FSH stimulates testosterone production in the testicle.

Gametes: the reproductive cells: oocytes in women; sperm in men.

Gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT): a variation of the IVF procedure requiring laparoscopy. After oocytes are collected, they are mixed with sperm and, using a catheter, are placed into the fallopian tube through laparoscopic guidance. Fertilization therefore occurs in the body (in vivo) as opposed to in a glass dish (in vitro).

Gonad: an ovary or testis.

Gonadotropin: a hormone (FSH, LH or hCG) that stimulates the ovaries or testes. These can be administered in the form of injections to stimulate the ovaries to facilitate follicle growth and/or induce ovulation. Trade names include Follistim (FSH), Gonal F, Repronex, Bravelle, Pergonal, Pregnyl (hCG), Profasi (hCG) and Novarel (HCG).

Gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH): the hypothalamic hormone that stimulates the pituitary to release LH and FSH. It is used in IVF to prevent the body from spontaneously triggering ovulation (Lupron). It is also used to treat endometriosis and to shrink the size of fibroids.

Gonorrhea: a sexually transmitted disease that may cause inflammation of the reproductive organs in both men and women, resulting infertility.