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Reproductive Medicine Glossary

Collection of vocabulary related to reproductive medicine


Medical history: history of the patient's previous illnesses and operations.

Anti-spermatozoa antibodies: the body's defence substances which are capable, under pathological conditions, of impairing the function of spermatozoa.

Azoospermia: total absence of spermatozoa in semen.

Astenozoospermia: alteration of male semen resulting in reduced sperm motility.


Beta HCG: a pregnancy test that is carried out via a blood examination. It serves to verify the implantation of the embryo.

Blastomeres: cells of the embryo formed by repeated mitotic divisions of the zygote.

Blastocyst: stage of the embryo that is obtained around day 5-6 of development.


Cervical canal: proximal part of the uterus that connects it with the vagina.

Peritoneal cavity: space inside the abdomen in which various organs (uterus, tubes, ovaries, bladder, intestines) are located and covered by a membrane called the peritoneum.

Sex cells/germ cells: cells with a reproductive function (oocytes and spermatozoon).

Cytoplasm: constituent part of the cell surrounded by plasma membrane and containing the nucleus.

Cryopreservation: maintenance of cell viability over time by conservation at a low temperature.

Chromosomes: components of the cell nucleus consisting mainly of DNA molecules; they contain genetic information.

GCT: Genetic Compatibility Testing.


Hormone dosage: test to determine the amount of hormones in the blood.

Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD): diagnosis of genetic diseases in the embryo before implantation in the uterus.


Ejaculate: all of the seminal fluid, sperm and cells within the seminal fluid.

Retrograde ejaculation: ejaculation that, due to anatomical or surgical causes or disease (e.g. diabetes) occurs in the bladder instead of outside.

Embryo donation: heterologous fertilisation treatment in which the embryo is generated through the use of oocytes or sperm from a donor outside the couple.

Embryo: fertilised oocyte that has undergone its first cell division.

Endometrium: mucous membrane covering the uterine cavity.

Endometriome: screening test that provides information on the intrauterine microbial environment.

Endometriosis: a disease frequently associated with infertility that consists of the abnormal implantation of the mucous membrane lining the uterine cavity (endometrium).

Epidididymis:organ in which sperm are temporarily collected after being produced in the testicle.

ERA Test: Endometrial receptivity test.

Oestradiol: hormone synthesised and secreted by the ovarian follicle.


Assisted Fertilisation: set of methods that assist the fertilisation process and the initial stages of embryo development.

Heterologous fertilisation: involves the use of sperm or oocytes from a donor outside the couple.

Homologous fertilisation: both gametes, sperm and oocytes, come from the couple.

IVF: In Vitro Fertilisation and Embryo Transfer, i.e. fertilisation in the laboratory, with subsequent transfer of the embryos into the uterus.

Follicle: fluid formation of the ovary that contains the egg cell. The follicle, in the pre-ovulatory phase, reaches a diameter of 18-24 millimetres.

Folliculogenesis: process leading to the cyclical maturation of oocytes (the female germ cells).

FSH: Follicle Stimulating Hormone, follicular growth hormone. It is a gonadotropin produced by the pituitary gland, which stimulates follicle growth and maturation. Medications containing this hormone are used for follicular growth stimulation.


Gametes: sex cells: oocytes in women, sperm in men.

Geri: state-of-the-art incubator with integrated time-lapse function.

GIFT: transfer of gametes (sex cells) into the tubes.

Gonadotropins: hormones secreted by the pituitary gland under hypothalamic control. They are the FSH and the LH.

Ectopic pregnancy: implantation of the embryo outside the uterus.

Heterotopic pregnancy: implantation of two or more embryos simultaneously in the uterus and somewhere else.


ICSI: Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection, microinjection of one of the sperm into the oocyte.

Infertility or sterility: inability to achieve conception after two years of unprotected sexual intercourse with the aim of conceiving.

Pelvic infections: infections of varying severity that may occur in the uterus, tubes, ovaries or lower abdomen.

Tubal insufflation: diagnostic examination to detect possible pathologies of the cervical canal and uterine cavity.

Hyperstimulation: excessive stimulation of the ovarian function.

Hysterosalpingography: X-ray examination of the uterus and salpinges carried out with a contrast medium.

Hysteroscopy: surgical procedure in which a fine endoscope (hysteroscope) is used to visualise the uterine cavity or to perform an operation.


Laparoscopy: surgical procedure in which a thin, fibre-optic instrument (laparoscope) is used to visualise the pelvic organs or to perform surgery.

LH: Luteinising Hormone, gonadotropin produced by the pituitary gland that peaks mid-cycle and causes ovulation.

Seminal fluid: fluid composed of seminal plasma (produced by the prostate) and sperm.


Ultrasound and hormonal monitoring: monitoring of follicular growth by ultrasound and oestradiol plasma dosage.

Cervical mucous: a secretion produced by the cervix which allows sperm to pass into the uterus; this mucous becomes more pronounced and fluid just before ovulation.


NIPT: Non-Invasive Prenatal Test


Oligozoospermia: a reduced number of sperm in the ejaculate.

Egg donation: heterologous fertilisation treatment in which oocytes from a donor outside the couple are used and inseminated with the male partner's sperm.

Oocyte: egg cell.

Two-pronuclei oocyte: egg cell in which the 23 chromosomes of the sperm and the 23 chromosomes of the egg are present in two separate nuclei (male and female pronucleus).

Hormones: substances produced by the body through which different organs communicate with each other.

Ovulation: release of an oocyte from one of the ovaries.


PESA: Percutaneous Epididymal Sperm Aspiration.

Oocyte pick-up or collection: puncture and aspiration of follicles through the vagina under ultrasound monitoring.

PGD: Preimplantation genetic diagnosis.

PGS: Preimplantation genetic screening.

PGT-A: Preimplantation genetic testing of chromosome aneuploidies (new name for PGS).

PGT-M: Preimplantation genetic test for monogenic abnormalities (new name for PGD).

PGT-SR: Preimplantation genetic test for structural chromosome abnormalities.

Pre-embryo: developmental stage between conception and day 14.

Progesterone: hormone secreted by the corpus luteum to prepare the endometrium for implantation of an embryo.


Spermatogonium: progenitor cell of the spermatozoon.

Spermatozoa: male sex cell present in the seminal fluid.

Spermicides: products capable of destroying spermatozoa, mainly used for contraceptive purposes.

Spermioculture: laboratory examination of seminal fluid to detect microbiotic infections.

Spermiogram: evaluation of certain morpho-functional parameters of the spermatozoa contained in the seminal fluid, such as total number, concentration, motility and morphology.

Stenosis: narrowing of the orifice of certain organs.


Teratozoospermia: presence of morphologically abnormal spermatozoa in a higher percentage than normal.

Growth medium: a chemical compound consisting of water, salts, proteins and amino acids, capable of allowing gametes and embryos to survive well in vitro.

TESA: Percutaneous Testicular Sperm Aspiration.

Eeva test: Embryo Early Viability Assessment.

Immunological tests: tests to detect the presence of specific antibodies.

Testicle: male gonad responsible for the production of spermatozoa and the secretion of testosterone.

Tube: female genital organ responsible for the uptake of oocytes, the transportation of sperm, fertilisation and the transportation of the embryo to the uterus.


Uterus: hollow muscular female genital organ which contains, protects and feeds the embryo and foetus.


Zygote: egg cell fertilised after amphimixis (reconstitution of a single gene pool of 46 chromosomes - 23 paternal and 23 maternal).