Fertility Treatment Terms Made Easy
AMH: stands for Anti-Mullerian Hormone. This is a protein hormone produced in the ovary. Understanding your AMH level gives the doctor an indication of your ovarian reserve. Patients with lower AMH have lower reserve, i.e. fewer number of eggs that can be produced by the ovaries per cycle. The AMH test is informative about the ovarian reserve at any point of time across the menstrual cycle.
AMH levels are naturally lower in older women (particularly over the age of 40) and higher in women with Polycystic Ovaries (PCO) or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).
FSH: is Follicle Stimulating Hormone. This stimulates the growth of follicles in the ovary before the release of an egg. A high reading of FSH (above 10 IU/L) on day 2 of the cycle is indicative of poor ovarian reserve.
What we measure
Endometrial Blood-flow: Endometrial blood flow is measured by an ultrasound scan. Good blood flow is indicative of a healthy endometrium for implantation of the embryo. A healthy endometrium would ensure a good supply of oxygen and nutrients to the embryo.
Egg-reserve/ovarian-reserve: This term is used to determine the capacity of the ovary to generate healthy eggs. The ovary houses the egg cells that are most likely to fertilise and result in a healthy pregnancy. Ovarian reserve may decline with age, ovarian surgery and other medications. Ovarian reserve can be determined by performing an antral follicle count (AFC) on day 2 of the menstrual cycle or by blood tests such as AMH and FSH (on day 2 of the menstrual cycle).
Follicle count/Antral Follicle count (AFC): We count follicles that are between 2-6mm in the ovary. This is because if you have plenty of follicles of this measurement when you come in for your scan, this indicates a good ovarian reserve.
Fertility Treatments & Procedures
AI: stands for Artificial Insemination. This is a treatment that involves directly inserting sperm into a woman’s womb.
Egg Freezing: Egg freezing is a method of fertility preservation, which allows women to freeze eggs for later use when she would like to start a family. This ensures that a woman stores healthy eggs at a young age. The quality of eggs produced by a women declines with age.
Embryo Freezing: once the egg and the sperm have successfully fertilised they form an embryo. The laboratory grows the embryo for 3-5 days after which they can be frozen for later use. We use a freezing method called vitrification to rapidly freeze the embryo to ensure the best preservation. Frozen embryos may be thawed and transferred into the womb at a later date to obtain a pregnancy.
Endometrial Scratching: a procedure that can be carried out before the embryo transfer, where the lining of the womb is gently scratched to help the embryo to implant more successfully.
HyCoSy: Hysterosalpingo-contrast-sonography (usually called HyCoSy), is a procedure which is used to look at the fallopian tubes and to check for abnormalities of the uterus. This is where a dye is passed into the uterus, and the doctor tracks it using an ultrasound scan.
Hysteroscopy: Hysteroscopy is a procedure where a very thin telescope camera is used to view the inside of your womb. It is used to investigate different conditions of the uterus such as polyps, fibroids, septum or scarring inside the uterine cavity.
ICSI: stands for Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection. This is where an individual sperm cell is inserted directly into the egg cell. This fertilizes the egg and creates an embryo.
Implantation: after the successful fertilisation of the egg and the sperm, forming an embryo, the embryo is placed back into the womb. The embryo sticks to the wall of the womb and begins to derive nutrients from the mother. This process is known as implantation
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI): IUI involves directly inserting specially washed sperm into a woman’s womb at the most fertile point of her cycle. Doctors use hormone blood tests and ultrasound scans to pinpoint the time at which ovulation occurs.
IVF: stands for In Vitro Fertilisation, it involves the fertilisation of an egg and a sperm outside of the body. ‘In vitro’ means ‘in glass’. The process is also known as a test-tube baby
Semen Analysis: A detailed semen analysis looks at the count, morphology and motility of your sperm.
Sperm Freezing: The sample sperm is frozen by our embryologists using vitrification technology. Once frozen, the sperm can be thawed with very high survival rates from thawing.
Common Fertility Problems
Azoospermia: this is when there is no sperm present in a man’s ejaculate. This can be due to hormonal problems, poor synthesis of sperms in the body or conditions which restrict the normal flow of sperms from the testis through the genital tract
Endometriosis: is a common condition in women where tissue that behaves like the lining of the womb (endometrium) is found in other places such as: the fallopian tubes, the ovaries, and in or around the bladder or bowel.
Low Ovarian Reserve: This means that there are low numbers of developing cells in the ovaries. This indicates that your fertility status is lower, something that declines with age.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS): This is a metabolic disorder where hormones such as estrogen and progesterone are out of balance. This leads to the growth of ovarian cysts. This is characterized by abnormal growth of hair, increase in body weight and irregular periods in addition to the ovarian cysts.
Tubal Disease: a disease where women have blocked or damaged fallopian tubes.
Thyroid Disease: Infertility can be caused by diseases of the thyroid, when it is under- or over-active. Women with a thyroid disease can be given customised treatment under the care of our experienced doctors.
Embryoscope: is an incubator that has the right conditions for a healthy embryo to develop in the laboratory. It has a special time lapse system with a camera that continuously captures images and records them as the embryo develops. We use proprietary algorithm analysis to significantly increase success rates.
Ultrasound Scan: this is the advanced transvaginal scan that we use to assess your ovarian-reserve. This will check how healthy your uterus, ovaries and follicles are by visualising the endometrial blood flow, follicular count and uterine cavity.