Whether you’re trying to get pregnant and have just started researching the ins and outs of fertility, or you’re seeking fertility care, chances are you’ve come across many confusing acronyms and abbreviations.
You might have come across these on a Google search, in articles, or in an online support community you joined and are left scratching your head about the meaning of each term. While you may have felt grateful to be in a group with others who know what you’re going through, you may have felt unable to follow the conversation.
Well, fear not – we’ve got you covered. This blog is about learning the language of fertility and infertility care – so you can feel educated, connected, and empowered in your journey.
Finding the Right Community
Finding an online support community for your fertility journey can seem tricky, especially because there are so many. A good first step is to limit your search for communities that cater to women already undergoing fertility treatment or those trying to conceive naturally.
If you’re one of many women in fertility care, consider RMA’s FertiliFriends Facebook group, which is a community of nearly 1,500 members that was created as a safe and supportive space to share your story, answer your questions, link with others in the fertility community, and support each other.
Trying to conceive can be an isolating process, and friends and family may not understand the physical and emotional stress individuals and couples are going through. Online communities are filled with like-minded people and help you understand that you are not alone. In fact, 1 in 8 couples struggle with infertility. When choosing a community, read through some of the conversations to ensure it’s a good fit for you. Smaller communities offer a more intimate experience, while bigger ones will ensure you hear multiple voices and opinions. Take your time before you commit to one!
We get it, these terms can add frustration to an already frustrating situation. But you’ve come to the right place. Below we explain the most common terms that will help you navigate the fertility world and online support communities. Use this as your go-to dictionary until you’ve memorized the most important ones.
TTC – Trying to Conceive
That’s an easy one! In the fertility space, this abbreviation describes the entire journey of getting pregnant. It’s about the required research and patience and can describe the related online space itself (e.g., a TTC Message Board.)
Trying to Conceive After Reversal
Aunt Flow. This euphemistic term refers to your menstrual cycle.
Birth Control, or Birth Control Pills. Also known as “the pill.”
Baby on the Brain means you are always thinking about having a baby.
Baby Vibes is used similarly to “Baby Dust” and is something you say to women who are trying to conceive. It’s kind of like a magical ‘good luck’ term.
Blood Work, in reference to fertility treatment blood work.
Baby Dance. This one references sexual intercourse during your most fertile days but can also mean “Baby Dust,” which is the “Good luck, I hope you get pregnant” commentary of online community members. Some may also use it as a verb: “When is the best time to BD?”
A Cycle Buddy describes someone who either started the menstrual or fertility treatment cycle with you, ovulated at the same time as you, or is planning to take a pregnancy test with you. Women often form “Cycle Buddy” friendships and share their hopes, fears, and worries about getting pregnant.
Doing the Deed means having sex.
Your child’s Estimated Due Date.
Endometriosis is a gynecological condition that involves tissue similar to the lining of your uterus growing outside your uterus, which can impact your ability to become pregnant. Effective treatments are available.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a common cause of infertility in women of reproductive age, resulting from a hormone disorder that leads to irregular or absent ovulation. The good news is that you can usually treat this condition – either through a change in your lifestyle and diet or through medication – and still have a healthy pregnancy and baby.
This term is used for children born to families that have previously lost children due to miscarriage, stillbirth, or other medical reasons.
Recurrent Pregnancy Loss is when a woman has had two or more miscarriages.
Anti-Mullerian Hormone is a laboratory blood test that doctors use to assess a woman’s ovarian reserve and egg count.
BFP / BFN
Try to remember this term by associating it with the all-time movie classic “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” BFP refers to Big Fat Positive (a positive pregnancy test), while BFN refers to Big Fat Negative (a negative test).
An Early Pregnancy Test is a test taken within two weeks of your ovulation and your expected period. The earlier you take this test, the harder it is for the test to detect the pregnancy hormone hCG, leading to a false negative result, which means you should wait at least nine-14 days after your ovulation to take the test with 14 days being the most reliable. Or think of it this way – to get the most accurate pregnancy result, wait until one day after your missed period to take the test.
Human Chorionic Gonadotropin is a hormone your body produces when you’re pregnant. This is the same hormone that would trigger a positive pregnancy test.
Home Pregnancy Test. Again, elevated levels of the pregnancy hormone hCG will lead to a positive home pregnancy test result, which measures hCG in urine.
A Hysterosalpingogram is a special type of x-ray that allows doctors to evaluate the shape of the uterus and whether the fallopian tubes are blocked.
Ovulation Predictor Kit/Ovulation Predicter Test. An OPK comes with several test strips that allow urine-based detection of the LH (luteinizing hormone), which signals impending ovulation. When you get a positive test result, it means you’re about to ovulate and are therefore more likely to conceive if you have sex.
Pee On A Stick = Take a home pregnancy test.
Semen Analysis is a fertility test that involves testing a man’s sperm for three factors: total sperm count, motile sperm count, and sperm morphology or shape – all necessary for pregnancy achievement.
Testicular Sperm Extraction is a surgical procedure that takes sperm directly from a man’s testicles for use in fertility treatment. It is typically performed when the semen contains little to no sperm.
This abbreviation stands for the two-week or 2-week wait, which describes the two-week period between your ovulation and when you can take a reliable pregnancy test.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is a membership organization for obstetrician-gynecologists.
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the science and practice of reproductive medicine.
Certified Nurse-Midwives are advanced practice registered nurses that have graduated from a master’s or higher-level nurse-midwifery education program. CNMs are licensed by the state and typically have complementary relationships with physicians.
An obstetrician/gynecologist is a physician that specializes in women’s reproductive health, pregnancy, and childbirth, essentially encompassing two separate yet related specialties: obstetrics and gynecology. An obstetrician specializes in obstetrics, covering all pregnancy stages, from prenatal to post-natal care. A gynecologist specializes in the health of a woman’s reproductive organs and will treat any conditions affecting the cervix, uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, or vagina.
Primary care physician.
The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technologies is the primary organization of professionals dedicated to practicing assisted reproductive technologies (ART) in the United States.
A Reproductive Endocrinologist is an OB/GYN physician who specializes in diagnosing and treating endocrine disorders (hormonal disorders) that are either directly or indirectly related to reproduction. REs are fertility doctors who specialize in helping couples get pregnant.
Basal Body Temperature is your body temperature when you first wake up in the morning or when you’re fully “at rest.” When you ovulate, your BBT will slightly increase, which you can track with special thermometers. You’re most fertile right before and during ovulation, so tracking your temperature will allow you to determine the best times to have sex.
Cycle Day. This is usually followed by a number and describes the day a woman is at in her menstrual cycle. CD1 is the first day of your period, while ovulation typically happens at the midpoint of the cycle.
Diminished Ovarian Reserve
Days Post-Ovulation. The number of days since you ovulated (e.g., 4DPO).
Egg White Cervical Mucus is the clear, egg-white-like discharge that your cervix produces near ovulation. It’s designed to help sperm more easily travel from the vagina, through the cervix, and into the uterus.
Your last menstrual period. Pregnancies are dated in weeks and start on the first day of your LMP.
Premature Ovarian Failure, Primary Ovarian Insufficiency, or early menopause happens when a woman’s ovaries contain far fewer eggs than they should for her age.
Artificial Insemination refers to Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), or when doctors insert sperm into a woman’s vagina at the time of ovulation in hopes of achieving pregnancy.
A Woman of Lupron – which refers to women who take Lupron, an ovary-stimulating medication that can cause mood swings, headaches, and hot flashes.
Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) is the umbrella term for all fertility treatments that involve the handling of eggs and sperm, such as IVF.
Otherwise known as the “quantitative beta hCG blood pregnancy test” measures the quantity of the hCG pregnancy hormone and is usually performed after an IVF embryo transfer. This term essentially means ‘blood pregnancy test’ and is used by fertility doctors following a treatment cycle.
A Clomid Challenge Test is a type of Ovarian Reserve Test (ORT) that is performed to assess and predict your body’s response to certain fertility drugs and stimulation of the ovaries.
This describes the Embryo Transfer that is done during IVF.
E2 refers to the female hormone estradiol, which is measured during fertility testing and treatments.
Frosties are frozen embryos from your IVF treatment. If a woman or couple produces many embryos during a cycle, the embryos can be frozen and later thawed for use in future cycles.
Follicle Stimulating Hormone is measured via blood to tell fertility doctors how hard your body is working to grow and mature the eggs inside your ovaries, indicating the health of your reproductive system and ovarian reserve.
Intrauterine Insemination is considered artificial insemination and involves injecting specially washed sperm into a woman’s uterus using a catheter.
In Vitro Fertilization describes the process of fertilizing an egg with sperm in vitro, meaning outside the body. It typically involves removing one or more eggs (aka ovum/ova) from a woman’s ovaries, fertilizing the egg(s) in a laboratory, and then reinserting any viable embryo into the uterus.
Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection is commonly done during IVF for many couples, but especially ones with sperm issues (male factor) to increase the chances of fertilization and pregnancy. Instead of placing many sperm in a vial containing one egg in hopes one sperm will penetrate and fertilize the egg, the ICSI process involves the use of a special needle to inject one sperm directly into the egg.
These terms describe genetic screening technologies that allow for the detection of genetic diseases and chromosomal imbalances that may impact the pregnancy’s integrity. There are two types: PGT-M, which stands for “preimplantation genetic testing for monogenic disorders” (and is also referred to as PGD), and PGT-A which stands for “preimplantation genetic testing for aneuploidy” (and was formerly known as PGS). PGT-M is used to detect very specific genetic diseases in the embryo (e.g., cystic fibrosis), while PGT-A concerns the chromosomal composition of the embryo (e.g., detecting an extra copy of chromosome 21 is an indication the embryo, if carried to term, would lead to a baby born with Down Syndrome).
Stimulating Hormones refer to injectable fertility drugs that stimulate your ovaries to grow and mature many eggs at once.
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