For aspiring parents who are just taking the first step in their fertility journey, the sheer amount of new information can feel like a lot to take in. It can be especially confusing to learn the many acronyms. To help you navigate through this alphabetical maze, here’s a short list of some of the most common fertility acronyms that you’re likely to come across early in your family-building journey.
Common Fertility Acronyms
- AMH (Anti-Müllerian Hormone): A hormone produced by the ovarian follicles; this hormone is often measured to get a basic assessment of functional ovarian reserve (i.e., the quality and quantity of egg follicles) and predict ovarian response to ovulation-inducing medications.
- AFC (Antral Follicle Count): The number of ovarian follicles, which are small, fluid-filled sacs that contain immature eggs; follicles are typically measured and counted using ultrasound imaging during the early stage of a menstrual cycle.
- ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology): An umbrella term for fertility treatments involving the manipulation of eggs, sperm, or embryos.
- FSH (Follicle-Stimulating Hormone): A hormone produced by the pituitary gland in the brain that plays a crucial role in reproductive processes; for women, this includes ovarian follicle development, estrogen production, and ovulation; for men, this includes sperm production. It is also used in IVF to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs in a single ovulation cycle.
- FET (Frozen Embryo Transfer): A fertility procedure in which an embryo from a previous IVF cycle is frozen, thawed, and transferred to the recipient’s uterus for implantation.
- GnRH (Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone): A hormone produced by the hypothalamus in the brain that plays a crucial role in menstruation and ovulation in women, as well as sperm production in men. In IVF, GnRH is used to manipulate the menstrual cycle and control the timing of ovulation by stimulating the release of FSH and luteinizing hormone (LH – see below).
- hCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin): A hormone produced by the placenta after an embryo attaches to the uterine lining. In IVF, hCG is referred to as a “trigger shot” – it triggers the final stage of maturation for eggs and prepares them for retrieval.
- HSG (Hysterosalpingogram): A diagnostic X-ray imaging technique that’s used to evaluate the uterus and fallopian tubes.
- IVF (In Vitro Fertilization): The most popular and effective form of ART, IVF involves retrieving mature eggs from the ovaries and fertilizing them with sperm in a laboratory. Once an embryo develops, it’s transferred to the recipient’s uterus.
- ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection): Used in conjunction with IVF, ICSI involves a single sperm being injected into the center of an egg to help with fertilization.
- IUI (Intrauterine Insemination): Also known as artificial insemination, IUI is often the first fertility treatment that people try. IUI improves the chances of conception by shortening the distance the sperm has to travel to get to the egg – the sperm are specially prepared and placed directly into the recipient’s uterus during ovulation, usually using ovulation-induction medications.
- LH (Luteinizing Hormone): A hormone produced by the pituitary gland in the brain that plays a crucial role in ovulation in women as well as testosterone production and sperm production in men.
- PGT (Preimplantation Genetic Testing): Performed in conjunction with IVF, PGT refers to a set of procedures that test embryos for chromosomal abnormalities or inherited diseases before uterine transfer.
This is just a small, introductory sample of some of the most common terms you are likely to encounter early on your fertility journey. For a more comprehensive list, check out RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association’s Infertility Acronym List.
Learn the Language of Fertility Care
When undergoing fertility care, having an understanding of its many terms and concepts can help you to make informed decisions. Talk with your fertility doctor about any concerns or questions you may have throughout the process. If you have questions about how fertility treatments can be more affordable with a multi-cycle program, we invite you to connect with a Bundl expert today.