- A --

Abortionthe premature termination of a pregnancy; may be induced or spontaneous (miscarriage)

Acrosome- the packet of enzymes in a sperm's head that allows the sperm to dissolve a hole in thecoating around the egg, which allows the sperm to penetrate and fertilize the egg

Acrosome reaction-a chemical change that enables a sperm to penetrate an egg

Adhesion-a union of adjacent organs by scar tissue

Adrenal glands-the endocrine gland on top of each kidney

Agglutination-clumping together, as of sperm, often due to infection, inflammation, or antibodies

Androgens-male sex hormones

Anejaculation-absence of ejaculation

Antibody-a protective agent produced by the body's immune system in response to a foreign substance

Antigen-any substnace that induces the formation of an antibody

Antisperm antibodies-antibodies that can attach to sperm and inhibit movement of sperm or fertilization

Artificial insemination (AI)-placement of a sperm sample inside the female reproductive tract (See also intracervical insemination, intrauterine insemination, intratubal insemination

Aspiration-suctioning of fluid, as from a follicle

Asymptomatic-without any symptoms

Autoantibodies-antibodies formed against one's own tissues

Autoimmunity-an immune reaction against one's own tissues

Azoospermia-absence of sperm


-- B --


Bacteria-microscopic, single-celled organisms that can cause infections of the genital tract

Biopsy-a fragment of tissue removed for study under the microscope

Blood-testis barrier-the barrier that separates sperm from the bloodstream

Bromocryptine (Parlodel)-a drug that reduces levels of the pituitary hormone prolactin


-- C --


Cannula-a hollow tube used, for example, to inseminate sperm artificially

Capacitation-the process by which sperm become capable of fertilizing an egg

Catheter-a flexible tube used for aspirating or injecting fluids

Cervix-the lower portion of the uterus that opens into the vigina

Chlamydia-a type of bacteria that is frequently transmitted sexually between partners or from an infectedmother to her newborn child; the most common sexually transmitted bacterial disease

Chromosome-threads of DNA in a cell's nucleus that transmit hereditary information

Clomiphene citrate (Clomid, Serophene)-a fertility pill that stimulates ovulation through release of gonadotropins from the pituitary gland

Congenital defect-a birth defect

Contraindication-a reason not to use a particular drug or treatment

Cryptorchidism-failure of one or both testicles to descend into the scrotum

Cyst-a sac filled with fluid


-- D --


Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)-the combination of amino acids in the cell's nucleus that make up the chromosomes, which transmit hereditary characteristics

Diethylstilbestrol (DES)-a synthetic estrogen (originally prescribed to prevent miscarriage) that caused malformations of the reproductive organs in some who were exposed to the drug during fetal development

Donor insemination-artificial insemination with donor sperm

Dysfunction-abnormal function



Egg(ovum)-the female reproductive cell

Ejaculate-the sperm-containing fluid released at orgasm

Ejaculatory ducts-the male ducts that contract with orgasm to cause ejaculation

Electrocautery-cauterization using electircal current

Electroejaculation-controlled electrical stimulation to induce ejaculation in a man with damage to the nerves that control ejaculation

Embryo-the developing baby from implantation to the second month of pregnancy

Embryologist-a specialist in embryo development

Embryo transfer-placing a laboratory-fertilized egg into the uterus

Endocrine gland-an organ that produces hormones

Epididymis-the tightly coiled, thin-walled tube that conducts sperm from the testicles to the vas deferens

Epididymitis-inflammation of the epididymis

Estradiol-the principal estrogen produced by the ovary

Estrogens-female sex hormones


-- F --


Fallopian tubes-ducts that pick up the egg from the ovary; where a sperm normally meets the egg to fertilize it

Fetus-the developing baby from the second month of pregnancy until birth

Fertilization-union of the male gamete (sperm) with the female gamete (egg)

Fluoroscope-an imaging device that uses X-rays to view internal body structures on a screen

Follicle-a fluid-filled sac in the ovary that releases an egg at ovulation

Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH)-the pituitary hormone that stimulates follicle growth in women and sperm formation in men

Fructose-produced by the seminal vesicles, the sugar that sperm use for energy


-- G --


Gamete-a reproductive cell; the sperm in men, the egg in women

Gamete Intra Fallopian Transfer (GIFT)-combining eggs and sperm outside of the body and immediately placing them into the fallopian tubes to achieve fertilization

Gene-the unit of heredity, composed of DNA; the building block of chromosomes

Gland-an organ that produces and secretes essential body fluids or substances, such as hormones

Gonadotropins-the hormones produced by the pituitary gland that control reproductive function folliclestimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH)

Gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH)-the hormone produced and released by the hypothalamus that controls the pituitary gland's production and release of gonadotropins

Gonads-organs that produce the sex cells and sex hormones; testicles in men and ovaries in women

Granuloma-a ball of inflamed tissue, commonly formed after vasectomy due to sperm leaking from the vasdeferens




Habitual abortion-repeat miscarriages

Hamster test-a test of the ability of a man's sperm to penetrate a hamster egg stripped of its outer membrane, the zona pellucida, Also called Hamster Zona-Free Ovum (HZFO) Test or

Sperm Penetration Assay (SPA)-a laboratory test of the ability of sperm to penetrate into a human egg; first the egg is split in half, then one half is tested against the husband's sperm and the other half against sperm from a fertile man

Hormone-a substance, produced by an endocrine gland, that travels through the bloodstream to aspecific organ, where it exerts its effect

Hostile mucus-cervical mucus that impedes the natural progress of sperm through the cervical canal

Human chorionic gonadotropin(hCG)-the hormone produced early in pregnancy to keep the corpus luteum producing progesterone;may be injected to stimulate ovulation and progesterone production

Human menopausal gonadotropins(hMG)-see Pergonal

Hyperandrogenism-excessive production of androgens in women, frequently a cause of hirsutism and alsoassociated with polycystic ovarian disease (PCOD)

Hyperprolactinemia-excessive prolactin in the blood

Hyperstimulation-excessive stimulation of the ovaries that can cause them to become enlarged

Hypothalamus-the endocrine gland at the center of the brain that produces gonadotropin releasing hormone-and controls pituitary function

Hypothyroidism-underactivity of the thyroid gland


-- I --


Immune system-the body's defense against any injury or invasion by a foreign substance or organism

Immunoglobulins-a class of proteins endowed with antibody activity; antibodies

Immunosuppressive drug-a drug that interferes with the normal immune response

Immunotherapy-a medical treatment for an immune system disorder that involves transfusing donor whiteblood cells into a woman who has had recurrent miscarriages

Implantation-attachment of the fertilized egg to the uterine lining, usually occurring five to seven days after ovulation

Impotence-inability of a man to achieve an erection or ejaculation

Infertility-inability of a couple to achieve a pregnancy or to carry a pregnancy to term after one year ofunprotected intercourse

Inflammation-a response to some type of injury such as infection, characterized by increased blood flow,heat, redness, swelling, and pain

Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)-direct injection of a single sperm into an egg

Intrauterine insemination (IUI)-artificial insemination of sperm, which have been washed free of seminal fluid, into the uterine cavity

In utero-while in the uterus during early development

In vitro fertilization (IVF)-(literally, "in glass") fertilization outside of the body in a laboratory


-- K --


Karyotype-a chromosome analysis

Klinefelter's syndrome-a chromosome abnormality that prevents normal male sexual development and causes irreversible infertility due to the presence of an extra female (X) chromosome



-- L --


Leydig cells-the cells in the testicles that make testosterone

Luteinizing hormone (LH)-the pituitary hormone that causes the testicles in men and ovaries in women to manufacture sex hormones



-- M --


Metrodin(Pure FSH)-an injectable drug consisting of pure follicle stimulating hormone used to stimulate ovulation

Microsurgery-reconstructive surgery performed under magnification using delicate instruments and precise techniques

Morphology-the study of form, such as assessing the shape of sperm during semen analysis

Motility-mothion, such as the forward swimming motion of health sperm

Mucus-secretion from a gland that can be watery, gel-like, stretchy, sticky or dry; fertile mucus iswatery and stretchy

Mycoplasm-an infectious agent that falls structurally between a virus and a bacterium


-- O --


Oligospermia-a low sperm count

Ovary-the female gonad; produces eggs and female hormones

Ovulation-release of an egg from the ovary



-- P --


Parlodel-see Bromocryptine

Patent-open; for example, fallopian tubes should be patent after a sterilization reversal operation

Penetrak-a test of how fast sperm can travel up through cow mucus

Penis-the male organ of sexual intercourse

Pergonal (hMG)-the luteinizing and follicle stimulating hormones recovered from the urine of postmenopausalwomen that is used to induce multiple ovulation in various fertility treatments

Pituitary gland-the endocrine gland at the base of the brain that produces the gonadotropin luteinizinghormone and follicle stimulating hormone, which in turn stimulate the gonads to produce sexcells and hormones

Polyp-a growth or tumor on an internal surface, usually benign

Post-coital test (PCT)-microscopic examination of a woman's cervical mucus at the fertile time of the cycle to determine the number and motility of sperm following intercourse

Pre-embryo-a fertilized egg in the early stage of development prior to cell division

Progesterone-the female hormone, produced by the corpus luteum after ovulation, that prepares the uterine lining for implantation of a fertilized egg and helps maintain the pregnancy

Prolactin-the pituitary hormone that in high amounts stimulates milk production

Prostate gland-the male gland encircling the urethra that produces one third of the fluid in the ejaculate

Prostaglandins-a group of hormone-like chemicals that have various effects on reproductive organs; sonamed because they were first discovered in the prostate gland


-- R --


Reproductive endocrinologist-an OB/GYN who specializes in the treatment of hormonal disorders that affect reproductive function

Retrograde ejaculation-ejaculation backwards into the bladder instead of forward through the urethra


-- S --


Scrotum-the sac containing the testicles, epididymis, and vas deferens

Semen-the fluid containing sperm and secretions from the testicles, prostate, and seminal vesicles thatis expelled during ejaculation

Semen analysis-laboratory examination of semen to check the quality and quantity of sperm

Seminal vesicles-the paired glands at the base of the baldder that produce seminal fluid and fructose

Seminiferous tubules-in the testicles, the network of tubes where sperm are formed

Septum-a wall that divides a cavity in half, such as a uterine septum

Sertoli cells-the cells in the testicles that provide nourshment to the early sperm cells

Sexually transmitted disease (STD)-a disease caused by an infectious agent transmitted during sex

Sperm-male gamete or reproductive cell

Sperm bank-a place where sperm are kept frozen in lizuid nitrogen for later use in artificial insemination

Sperm count-the number of sperm in the ejaculate (when given as the number of sperm per millileter it ismore accurately known as the sperm concentration or sperm density)

Sperm penetration assay (SPA)-see Hamster test

Spermicide-an agent that kills sperm

Sterilization-a surgical procedure (such as tubal ligation or vasedtomy) designed to produce infertility

Sterilization reversal-a surgical procedure used to undo a previous sterilization operation and restore fertility


-- T --


Testicle-the male gonad; produces sperm and male sex hormones

Testicular biopsy-the removal of a fragment of a testicle for examination under the microscope

Testosterone-the primary male sex hormone

Thyroid gland-the endocrine gland in the front of the neck that produces thyroid hormones, which regulatethe body's metabolism

Total effective sperm count-an estimate of the number of sperm in an ejaculate capable of fertilization; total sperm count X percent motility X percent forward progressive motility X percent normal morphology

Toxin-a poison produced by a living organism, such as by some bacteria

Tumor-an abnormal growth of tissue that can be benign or malignant (cancerous)


-- U --


Ultrasound (US)-use of high-frequency sound waves for creating an image of internal body parts

Ureaplasma-a microorganism similar to mycoplasma

Urethra-the tube through which urine from the bladder is expelled

Urologist-a physician who specializes in the surgical treatment of disorders of the uniary tract and malereproductive tract

Uterus-the womb; female reproductive organ that noursishes the fetus until birth


-- V --


Vagina-the female organ of sexual intercourse; the birth canal

Vaginituis-inflammation of the vigina

Varicocele-varicose veins in the scrotum

Vas deferens-the tubes that conduct sperm and testicular fluid to the ejaculatory ducts

Vasectomy-surgical sterilization of a man by interrupting both vas deferens

Vasectomy reversal-microsurgical repair of a previous vasectomy for a man who wants to regain his fertility

Vasogram-an X-ray study of the vas deferens

Venereal disease-see Sexually transmitted idsesas (STD)

Virus-a microscipic infectious organism that reproduces inside living cells


-- Z --


Zona pellucida-the protective coating surrounding the egg

Zygote-an egg that has been fertilized but not yet divided

Zygote Intra Fallopian transfer (ZIFT)-in vitro fertilization with a transfer of the zygote into the fallopian tube; a combination of in vitro fertilization and gamete intrafallopian transfer

Last updated by Webmaster on October 30, 2009

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