18 Medical Terms Couples Undergoing Fertility Treatment Should Know

Just type the word ‘IVF’ in the search bar of your browser, and you are bound to be inundated with more information than you can possibly absorb. And while information is a good thing—especially when you’re going in for IVF and want to know what you’re signing up for—a lot of what you read comes laden with medical jargons.

You’re bound to come across terms like ‘oocytes’, ‘gametes’, ‘OHSS’—amongst many others—both in your research and at the doctor’s office. As daunting as these words may sound at first, there is absolutely no need to be overwhelmed. We are here to decode some of the most commonly used medical phrases when it comes to fertility treatments via this nifty word guide—created with the help of Dr Nidhi Jain.

Dr Nidhi Jain is the director of Vijaya Maternity Home and Metro IVF, Ahmedabad. She is known in the field for conducting vaginal deliveries and has a special interest in painless deliveries and infertility. And this is her guide to fertility terms you should know:


Gametes are reproductive cells also known as sex cells. They are capable of uniting with gamete of opposite sex to form a zygote.


An oocyte is an immature egg inside the ovary which later on develops into mature ovum. Its number and quality decrease as the woman ages.


This is a fluid-filled sac inside the ovary which contains an immature egg. As the egg matures, the follicle breaks open and releases the egg for possible fertilisation.

Follicular Stimulation

This is when drugs or injections are given to aid the growth of one or multiple follicles inside the ovary. This is usually done to assist conception.


ICSI or intra cytoplasmic sperm injection is a method of assisted reproduction technique. When the sperm in itself is not capable of penetrating the egg, this is done by injecting the sperm into the egg with help of a tiny needle under a microscope.


Intrauterine insemination is a method of assisted conception in which washed sperms are placed into the female uterus through a small pipette.


Also called in-vitro fertilisation, in this assisted reproduction technique eggs and sperms are made to fertilise outside the human body. The resulting zygote is then placed into the uterus through a small catheter.


Follicle stimulating hormone is a gonadotropin hormone produced by the pituitary gland. It is essential for the functioning of females ovaries and male testes.


Luteinizing hormone is a hormone released by pituitary gland which controls the function of ovaries in females and testes in males. It is the hormone mostly responsible for ovulation.


This is a surgical procedure in which a fibre optic instrument is inserted through the abdominal wall to view the organs inside the abdomen and to perform small surgical procedures.


This is a surgical procedure in which a thin lighted tube is inserted through the vagina into the uterus. It allows your doctor to look for any problems inside the uterus and cervix.


This is the inner layer of the uterus in which the pregnancy rests. Every month the female body prepares the endometrium to host an embryo.

Fallopian tube

These are the tubes that stretch from ovaries to uterus. They transfer the fertilised egg from ovaries to uterus.


Also known as ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome, this is when a drugs given to a woman undergoing fertility treatment cause more response than needed. As a result, the ovaries swell up and start leaking fluid into the body.

Ovulation induction

When drugs or injections are given to form and release one or more eggs from the ovary.


Five to six days after fertilisation a zygote develops into a blastocyst. This is the stage at which implantation occurs.


This is the early developmental stage of a foetus.


A freezing procedure of eggs and embryos in which they can be stored in liquid nitrogen for future use.


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