Fertility Terminology & Abbreviations
At a glance
· ‘Fertility talk’ can be littered with abbreviations, with OI, IUI, IVF and ICSI among the most commonly used, which can be confusing.
· Asking questions – and deepening your understanding of the process – can contribute to a more informed and positive experience.
Exploring your fertility options can feel overwhelming at the best of times, but being hit with a dictionary full of medical jargon can puzzle even the most clinically clued up.
“It can be quite confusing,” admits Clinical Director of IVF CBD clinic Dr Manny Mangat. “As fertility experts we’re so passionate about what we do that sometimes we throw out acronyms and expect people to understand what we live and breathe.” Which is why asking for clarification throughout the process is key.
From ‘basal body temperature’ to ‘luteal phase’ and ‘anovulation’ there are a lot of medical terms that get thrown around when you’re going through fertility treatment. Here are a few that are commonly used by fertility specialists when discussing treatment options with patients:
OI or ovulation induction: medication offered – via tablet or injection – to induce follicle development and regular ovulation.
You might hear this if you are: struggling with irregular periods, occasional periods or no periods, which can make tracking ovulation a struggle.
IUI or intrauterine insemination: recommended for short-term unexplained infertility or sexual difficulties. The procedure involves the manual insertion of pre-prepared sperm through the cervix and into the uterus just before ovulation.
You might hear this if you are: experiencing unexplained infertility, sexual difficulties or a couple/single using donor sperm, before moving onto more complex treatments like IVF.
IVF or in vitro fertilisation: assisted reproductive treatment used for female or unexplained fertility, whereby a woman’s ovaries are stimulated with a course of injectable fertility drugs, collected and fertilised with sperm from a male partner or donor.
You might hear this if you have: sperm abnormalities, endometriosis, tubal damage, unsuccessful OI results or unexplained infertility. Single women and same-sex couples using donor sperm are common candidates too.
Although IVF may be the fertility treatment that’s most talked about, bear in mind that you may not need IVF, and may be offered other procedures, medications or processes depending on your personal circumstances.
“IVF is only used for certain groups of people - it doesn’t help everyone,” stresses Dr Mangat. A fertility specialist will discuss whether the treatment is right for you.