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In search of the fertility acronyms

Acronyms are not only used by the GenZ’ers to communicate faster. They are also used in the world of fertility and reproductive health, a world you may want to explore someday in your life. 

So, while you are trying to keep up with new technologies and advances in reproductive science we tried to gather the most important acronyms you may stumble upon.

Let’s start with the fertility treatments’ acronyms.

IVF: It means In Vitro Fertilization (fertilization outside the body) and it is the most commonly used fertility treatment. It is often used when a woman’s fallopian tubes are blocked or when a man produces too few sperm. Doctors prescribe a drug to the woman, which causes the ovaries to produce multiple eggs. Once mature, the eggs are removed from the woman and they are put in a dish in the lab along with the man’s sperm for fertilization. After 3 to 5 days, healthy embryos are implanted in the woman’s uterus.

ICSI: Intracytoplasmic sperm injection, is a procedure that often accompanies IVF and is meant to overcome issues with male factor infertility. In the lab, the doctor will inject just one sperm directly into an egg collected during an egg retrieval procedure as a direct route to embryo creation. This treatment is helpful for people with low quantity or quality sperm.

IUI: Intrauterine insemination is a fertility treatment where sperm is placed directly into a woman’s uterus. This process can increase the likelihood of pregnancy in certain couples who have had difficulty getting pregnant.

ART: Assisted Reproductive Technology. It consists of all the available fertility treatments that fight infertility such as the three above and egg donation, egg freezing, mini IVF, and ovarian rejuvenation.

DPO: Days past ovulation. Women often describe the symptoms they experience during their first 15 days past ovulation, or DPO, which is when, if you have conceived, an embryo is starting to develop/attach to the uterus.

DPR: Days Past Retrieval, or the number of days since you’ve had the oocyte retrieval during IVF.

DPT: Days Past Transfer, or the number of days after embryo transfer in an IVF treatment or embryo donation cycle.

CM: Cervical mucus is a fluid produced by and released from the cervix (the opening to the uterus). Hormones cause cervical mucus to change in texture, volume and color throughout the menstrual cycle. It can be used to identify when women are most fertile.

hCG: Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, the pregnancy hormone. It is made by cells formed in the placenta, which nourishes the egg after it has been fertilized and becomes attached to the uterine wall. Levels can first be detected by a blood test about 11 days after conception and about 12-14 days after conception by a urine test.

LH: Luteinizing hormone is made by the pituitary gland, a small gland located underneath the brain. It plays an important role in sexual development and functioning. 

In women, LH helps control the menstrual cycle. It also triggers the release of an egg from the ovary. This is known as ovulation. LH levels quickly rise just before ovulation.

In men, LH causes the testicles to make testosterone, which is important for producing sperm. Normally, LH levels in men do not change very much. High or low levels of LH are an infertility indicator.

OPK: Ovulation predictor kits (OPKs) are at-home tests you can use to determine when you’re ovulating.

TTC: It may not be used by medical specialists but if you join a fertility cycle and get to talk with people trying to conceive most probably you will hear the acronym TTC. It means “trying to conceive” and it is used when someone is in the process of conceiving either naturally or via fertility treatments.

General reproductive health acronyms.

AMH: Anti-Mullerian Hormone is made in the reproductive tissues of both males and females. An AMH test is often used to check a woman’s ability to produce eggs that can be fertilized for pregnancy. A woman’s ovaries can make thousands of eggs but the number declines as you get older. AMH levels show how many potential egg cells a woman has left and that’s the reason why an AMH test will help you determine what are the chances of conceiving and also when would be the best time to try to get pregnant.

FSH: Follicle stimulating hormone is one of the hormones responsible for the optimal development and function of women’s ovaries. This hormone stimulates the growth of ovarian follicles in the ovary before the release of an egg from one follicle at ovulation. As people age the levels of this hormone change and usually high follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels are measured to confirm menopause.

E2: Estradiol is a female sex hormone produced by the ovaries and also the placenta during pregnancy. Estradiol is needed to maintain the eggs inside a female’s ovaries. High levels of estradiol indicate that you might have a problem with your ovarian reserve. It could also mean that the estradiol is suppressing FSH. Either of these things could mean that you will have more trouble getting pregnant, more trouble ovulating, and reduced success with IVF. 

TSH: It stands for thyroid stimulating hormone. A TSH test is a blood test that measures this hormone. The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located near your throat. Your thyroid makes hormones that regulate the way your body uses energy. Up to 5% of women struggling to conceive have abnormal thyroid hormone levels. They are also important in the development of the fetus, as they are crucial in growth. 

PCOS: Polycystic ovary syndrome is a condition in which the ovaries produce an abnormal amount of androgens, male sex hormones that are usually present in women in small amounts. Women with PCOS may have infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods or excess male hormone (androgen) levels. The ovaries may develop numerous small collections of fluid (follicles) and fail to regularly release eggs.

POI: Premature Ovarian Failure. It happens when the ovaries stop working properly before the age of 40. More or less, 1% of the female population is affected by this disorder, where estrogen hormone is not produced in an expected amount, and eggs are not released regularly. This leads to fertility issues at a relatively young age and can cause a lot of frustration in women trying to conceive.

OB-GYN: The doctor that will take care of you throughout your fertility journey. An obstetrician-gynecologist is a healthcare professional that specializes in female reproductive health.

Preventing pregnancy acronyms.

COC: Combined oral contraceptive pills. It is a pill you take every day to stop getting pregnant and it contains two hormones – estrogen and progestogen.

ECP: Emergency contraception pills, are a safe and effective form of emergency contraception containing either the progestin levonorgestrel or the progestin blocker ulipristal acetate to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex.

IUD: The intrauterine device is a small T-shaped plastic and copper device that’s put into the uterus by a doctor or nurse. It releases copper to stop you from getting pregnant, and protects against pregnancy for between 5 and 10 years. It’s sometimes called a “coil” or “copper coil”.

OCP: Oral contraceptive pills are another way to refer to birth control pills. 

POP: A music genre but also progestin-only pills. They are also called minipills and they only contain progestin and not estrogen, unlike the COC ones that contain both.

Now you are familiar with the most common fertility acronyms and whether you are talking with your OB-GYN or with a fertility community about your PCOS or your TTC you’ll be well informed and ready to answer any questions that occur. And when you decide on your fertility treatment choose MEDIPASS to help you. We will offer you the ideal fertility journey you deserve. 

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In search of the fertility acronyms