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A TTC Acronym Glossary

By Research No Comments

When I first stumbled across the #ivf tag on instagram, I was ecstatic – here were people who UNDERSTOOD!  I was not alone! I found my tribe of people!! I did a dance I was so happy. It was a comfort to know I wasn’t the only one.

The next emotion was less happy – my tribe were speaking in a language of acronyms I did not understand. Not even in the slightest. It was intimidating and confusing. It made me feel small. 

It took some time, but with some googling, determination and many questions I soon understood what was being said. Here’s a quick glossary to help you understand the #TTC acronyms.

2 Week Wait. It’s that time between post IVF transfer and taking a beta test to prove pregnancy. It’s a nervous time, hoping the transfer is successful.

Aunt Flo, After Flo, Period, or Menstrual Cycle.

Assisted Hatching. It’s an IVF term, where an embryologist will create a small hole in the embryo shell before transfer. It’s thought that embryos who have assistance hatching are more likely to implant. 

Artificial/Assisted Insemination. Where semen is injected into the vagina or uterus.

Assisted Reproductive Technology. Essentially any conception assistance that isn’t sex. Examples would be IVF or IUI. 

Anti-Mullerian Hormone. The hormone that predicts ovarian reserve (that is, the number of eggs you have left in your ovaries).

Baby Aspirin. There is some thought that taking a single baby aspirin can improve pregnancy outcomes with IVF by improving the blood supply to various organs, like ovaries.

Baby Dust
That magic something that ensures the whole pregnancy process goes as planned.

Basal Body Temperature. Helpful for temperature charting to predict ovulation.

Birth Control Pills.

Baby Dance, otherwise known as sex.

The beta is a pregnancy test taken after the 2WW. It measures the levels of the hormone beta-hCG via a blood test, as it is the first measurable sign of implantation.

Big Fat Negative. When you take a pregnancy test and you’re not pregnant. Sad face.

Big Fat Positive. What we’re all looking for – when you take a pregnancy test and it is positive. High five! 

Bloodwork. Getting bloods drawn is a fairly frequent occurrence if you’re working with assisted reproduction.

Cycle Buddy. When you have a friend with a similar cycle to you, and you both run through similar IVF/IUI journeys at the time.

Cycle Day. The day of your cycle. The first day of your period is CD1.

Cervical Mucus. Your body produces a mucus around the cervix. It’s typically used to prevent any bacteria moving between the vagina to the uterus. When you’re ovulating estrogen alters the mucus to become sperm friendly, which allows the sperm to move quickly through the uterus to the fallopian tubes.

Dear Husband. 

Dihydroepiandrosterone is a hormone that can be taken as a supplement. It’s naturally occurring in most women and converts into androgens (like testosterone). It’s used to improve outcomes for women experiencing Diminished Ovarian Reserve.

Diminished Ovarian Reserve. A condition where a woman will have a low number of eggs in her ovaries, or impaired development of existing eggs. It’s thought to be one of the main causes of infertility.

Days Post-Ovulation.

Days Post-Egg Retrieval.

Days Post-Transfer. Often it will have a number in front – 5DPT would be 5 days post transfer.

Days Post 3-Day Transfer. This refers to an embryo that was transferred on Day 3 after egg retrieval. 

Similar to the above, except a 5 Day old blastocyst was transferred.

Dear Wife.

Estradiol. Estradiol is the primary female sex hormone. Most importantly, as your follicles grow it triggers hypothalamic-pituitary events that lead to a luteinizing hormone surge which induces ovulation. It will be one of the hormones measured frequently during an IVF round.

Endometriosis is a common condition where tissue that behaves like the lining of the womb is found outside the womb.

Egg Retrieval. Where, after being stimulated with hormones during an IVF cycle, the eggs are retrieved from the ovaries.

Embryo Transfer. Where, after being fertilised and allowed to cleave during an IVF cycle, the embryo is transferred to the uterus. 

Egg White Cervical Mucus. The kind of cervical mucus where, around ovulation, it takes on a consistency like egg whites.

Frozen Embryo Transfer. Where a frozen embryo is thawed and transferred to the uterus.

Fertility Friend is an app for tracking fertility.

Is a frozen embryo.

Follicle-Stimulating Hormone promotes the formation of eggs in an ovary. It is used as a guide to indicate the quality of eggs on CD3, which can be used to predicate whether an IVF round should go ahead or not.

Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone is also known as a luteinizing hormone which is responsible for the release of FSH and LH from the anterior pituitary gland. 

The Glucose Tolerance Test is a tool used to diagnose high blood glucose during pregnancy, otherwise known as gestational diabetes.

Human Chorionic Gonadotropin is a hormone produced in a placenta during pregnancy. It tells the ovary to continue producing estrogen and progesterone which help the lining of your uterus stay intact.

Human Menopausal Gonadotropin (also known as Menotropin) is hormonally active medication used to treat infertility. It contains equal amounts of LH and FSH and is used to help stimulate ovulation

Home Pregnancy Test.

Hysteroscopy is a procedure used to examine a womb for fibroids, polyps or adhesions by inserting a narrow camera through the cervix. 

Hysterosalpingogram is a procedure to ensure the fallopian tubes are clear. It’s done by injecting a dye into the cervical canal and then taking an xray as the dye moves around the uterus into the fallopian tubes.

Intracervical Insemination is an artificial insemination procedure, which involves placing sperm directly into the reproductive tract to improve the chances of pregnancy. 

Intra-cytoplamic Sperm Injection. This is where a single sperm is inserted into an egg to aid fertilisation. 

Intra-uterine Insemination is a form of assisted conception. Sperm is placed in the uterus near the egg at the time of ovulation.

In Vitro Fertilization. This is a form of assisted conception, where an egg is removed from an ovary and fertilised with sperm in a laboratory. The embryo is then transferred to the womb to grow and develop.

Luteinizing Hormone is released to encourage your ovary to ovulate. 

Luteal-Phase is the second half of a menstrual cycle that occurs after ovulation. It’s the phase where fertilisation and implantation are likely to happen. 


Male Factor Infertility.




Oral Contraceptives.

Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome is an occasional side effect of IVF. Your ovaries overreact to the stimulants and produce too many follicles.

Ovulation Predictor Kit/Ovulation Predictor Test. Both work by measuring the amount of luteinzing hormone (LH) in your urine. A surge of LH is an indicator of ovulation.

Over the Counter. Typically refers to medication.

Polycistic Ovarian Syndrome/Polycistic Ovarian Disease is a hormone imbalance which interferes with periods and other fertility aspects. It’s thought to be the leading cause of infertility. 

Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis/Pre-implantation Genetic Screening. This is where an embryo that has grown to Day 5, blastocyst level is sampled and the cells are tested for chromosomal abnormalities.

Pre-menstrual Syndrome.

Pee On A Stick. Typically associated with pregnancy tests or OPKs. 

Reproductive Endocrinologist.

Semen Analysis. A sample is taken and a few different factors are checked to rule out male infertility. 

Thyroid Stimulating Hormone is a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland. It plays a significant role in reproduction and pregnancy. There has shown to be an increase in miscarriages when the TSH levels are off the scale. 

Trying To Conceive. 

Why should worry about Egg Quality if you’re doing IVF

By Research No Comments


There’s a lot of speculation that fertilisation is the crux of getting pregnant. Take one good swimmer plus an egg and boom – nature will take it’s course and produce a healthy little baby. So to fall pregnant all you need to do is introduce an egg to the sperm, right? 

Often when trying to conceive there is a huge focus on fertilisation. There are some complicated ovulation prediction methods to help get the timing right. Like temperature charting and OPKs – peeing on sticks to compare the lines from previous days. The hope is having sex at the right time, the sperm and egg will meet and fertilise. 

Turns out it’s a bit more complicated than that. Truth is,  Fertilisation is only a small part the equation. Only around a third of fertilised embryos will survive and grow in a healthy baby (1). 

Let’s take a moment to process that. Miscarriages are more common than we think, occurring in about 10-15% recognised pregnancies (2). The important part there is “recognised pregnancies”. Most miscarriages happen before you even realise you’re pregnant (3).  In fact, it’s thought that up to 70% of pregnancies end in miscarriage (1).

So despite getting past fertilisation a large number of pregnancies won’t grow to term. It’s been found that the key to getting pregnant (and staying pregnant) is egg quality. That is, whether your egg has the right number of chromosomes or not.  

Each egg starts with four sets of chromosomes. Shortly before ovulation (4) your egg will go through a process of aligning two sets of chromosomes.  Once matched, your egg will dispose of the extra set. It does this twice and if all goes as planned your egg ends up with one copy of each chromosome, ready to ovulate. This process is called meiosis.

Meiosis will define whether your egg will have the right number of chromosomes. This is important, because an egg with the wrong number of chromosomes could result in a miscarriage, or even have difficulty fertilising. If a chromosomal abnormal embryo does grow to term it’s likely to have a genetic disorder. Down’s Syndrome, or Turners for example. 

Chromosomal abnormalities are surprisingly common. In women over 40, it’s thought that more than half her eggs may be abnormal (5), possibly even as high as 70%-80% (6). For women under 35, in one study it was found that up to a quarter of her eggs will have an abnormal number of chromosomes (6).

Putting that in context: for every month that a woman under 35 ovulates hoping to become pregnant, one month of four  it’s unlikely she’ll be able to conceive. If she does, she’s likely to miscarry.

During IVF there is an optional process called PGS – Pre-Genetic Screening. Once fertilised embryos reach blastocyst level they can be screened to check the number of chromosomes. Only chromosomal normal embryos will be transferred back for implantation.

It’s a heartbreaking decision to make. With PGS there is a possibility all the embryos may be abnormal. There may no-viable embryos to transfer. If that’s the case it’s likely even without PGS the outcome would not result in a healthy pregnancy.

There have been several interesting studies (7, 8, 9) on the impact of using PGS with IVF. The most interesting – pregnancy rates increase dramatically when using PGS screened eggs. Embryos that have been checked and are chromosomal normal are more likely to produce a successful pregnancy. 

In one study, the successful implantation rate for ladies between 40-43 years old went from 19.0% to 45.5% when using only screened embryos. The number of ladies in that age bracket who became mothers more than doubled. (7).

Another study repeated in both Beijing and LA found that 69% of IVF patients who used PGS screening and selected only chromosomal normal eggs became pregnant. In the control group (who did not use PGS to select chromosomal normal eggs) had only 41% of IVF patients fall pregnant. (9)

It’s clear that having chromosomal normal eggs – good quality eggs – is fundamental in having a successful pregnancy, and a happy healthy baby, more so than fertilisation. To put it simply: Egg Quality is everything.

The question then becomes, can Egg Quality be changed? If so, how?  Stay tuned for more posts. 🙂


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