Path To Fertility Blogger Lisa Rosenthal  

Lisa Rosenthal has over twenty-five years of experience in the fertility field, including her current roles as Coordinator of Professional and Patient Communications for RMACT and teacher and founder of Fertile Yoga, a class designed to support, comfort and enhance men and women's sense of self. Her experience also includes working with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and The American Fertility Association, where she was Educational Coordinator, Conference Director and Assistant Executive Director

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IVF, HSG, ICSI, IUI and more - The language of infertility explained


Conceiving a child is a challenge for approximately one out of 8 couples in the United States, depending on what statistics you read and believe. No question that it's a problem that many, many people are effected by. Chances are if you are reading this, you are on of them. I am definitely one of those people as well.

Trying to conceive is difficult, expensive and not really all that much fun. It's not the same as a ski vacation, a sun yourself on the beach vacation, or a stay at home vacation. It's not a vacation at all.

In fact, it's a bit more like going to school. Let's learn a new language. I personally was awful with languages other than English. In case you were one of those people as well, or if you are looking for language immersion, here is where I go when I need help with definitions.

One of my favorite resources is the glossary that our own Dr. Joshua Hurwitz helped build for our site: http://www.rmact.com/education_glossary.htm

Here are a few examples of terms that he helps explain:

In Vitro Fertilization- IVF: A powerful procedure to help patients conceive pregnancies. IVF entails stimulating your ovaries to develop multiple follicles. This is achieved with injectable medications. The goal of IVF is to produce a large number of growing follicles, then harvest the eggs inside the follicles through a short surgical procedure performed in our office. The eggs are then inseminated with sperm in the laboratory, sometimes using ICSI, in order to create embryos that can then be transferred back to the endometrial cavity (the womb) of the patient. The name in vitro fertilization refers to the fact that the oocyte is fertilized by the sperm in the laboratory, rather than inside the female reproductive tract.

Hysterosalpinogram (HSG): An x-ray procedure to examine whether the fallopian tubes are patent (open) or not. This test helps determine if the tubes are blocking sperm from reaching the ovulated eggs through the fallopian tubes. Special x-ray dye is gently injected through the uterus and then x-ray pictures are taken to see where the dye travels.

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI): Placement of a single sperm into a single oocyte (egg) by penetrating the outer coatings of the egg. This technique is used in cases where there are very low sperm numbers, motility or morphology. ICSI is also used for patients who have had previous IVF cycles with failed fertilization.

Intra-Uterine Insemination (IUI): is a technique that transfers sperm directly in to the uterus.  It bypasses the vaginal and cervical defense mechanisms of the female reproductive tract and allows better sperm delivery to the fallopian tubes.  This allows the sperm and egg to interact in close proximity.  It is a very common treatment for mild and moderate deficits in the semen analysis.  IUI is typically used in conjunction with medications that increase the number of eggs per cycle and triggering of ovulation.  The goal is to have more "targets" for the sperm (eggs), perfect timing and better sperm delivery. 

Semen Analysis (SA): Examination of the male ejaculate under the microscope to determine the number of sperm, their ability to move forward (motility) and their shapes (morphology). The semen analysis is a cornerstone of the evaluation of couples experiencing infertility. The sperm counts, motility and morphology all provide important information about how the sperm will perform in treatment cycles.

Human Menopausal Gonadotropin (HMG): A purified extract of LH and FSH, the hormones secreted by the pituitary gland to stimulate the ovary. It is a commercial preparation used by injection to facilitate development of multiple follicles in treatment cycles.

Above are just a few of the examples that you can find on our glossary. Here's the link again: http://www.rmact.com/education_glossary.htm

In case there are words in this new language that we haven't addressed in our glossary, please know that this is the perfect place to ask.

We will answer.


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