Fertility & Cryopreservation Glossary


ART: Assisted reproductive technologies. All treatments that include laboratory handling of eggs, sperm and/or embryos.

Azoospermia: the absence of sperm in a semen sample.

Chemotherapy agents that may impact fertility:

  • Busalfan
  • Carmustine (BCNU)
  • Chlorambucil
  • Cisplatin
  • Cyclophospamide
  • Lomustine (CCNU)
  • Melphelan
  • Nitrogen Mustard
  • Procarbazine
  • Temozolomide
  • Thiotepa
  • Vinblastine

Cryopreservation: rapid freezing in liquid or vapor nitrogen at -196C to preserve (sperm) for future use.

Epididymis: tiny tube where sperm collect after leaving the testis.

Follicles: Follicles: fluid filled sacs in the ovary which contain the eggs released at ovulation. Each month an egg develops within a follicle in the ovary.

FSH: follicle-stimulating hormone. Released from the pituitary gland, FSH is necessary to make sperm.

Gamete: sperm or eggs.

Hypothalamus: Control center of the brain that regulates the amount of hormones produced by the pituitary gland.

ICSI: Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection; A technique for fertilizing an egg with one single sperm in the ART laboratory.

Infertility: the inability to conceive a child.

IUI: Intrauterine Insemination. An assisted reproductive technique where a doctor inserts washed sperm inside the female's uterus.

IVF: In vitro fertilization. A process in which an egg and sperm are combined in a laboratory dish to facilitate fertilization.

ICSI: Intracytoplasmic sperm injection. A technique whereby a single sperm can be injected directly into an egg in an attempt to achieve fertilization.

Leydig cells: located in the testicle, responsible for producing testosterone.

LH: Luteinizing hormone. LH is necessary for the leydig cells in the testicle to produce testosterone.

Oocyte: the technical term for egg.

Ovaries: the two female sex glands that produce eggs.

Pituitary gland: Small gland in the brain, located beneath the hypothalamus that secretes FSH and LH.

Secondary Sexual Characteristics: In males, this includes facial, axillary and pubic hair, deep voice and adult size genitalia.

Semen: white, protein-rich fluid ejaculated by males at the time of orgasm. Usually contains sperm.

Semen Analysis: a laboratory analysis of sperm number, motility and health.

Seminiferous tubules: Tiny tubes in the testes where sperm cells are produced, grow and mature.

Sperm Bank: A facility that collects, freezes and stores sperm.

Spermatogonia: cells located within the seminiferous tubules that produce sperm.

Testosterone: primary male hormone. Causes the reproductive organs to grow and develop; responsible for secondary sexual characteristics, and promotes erections and sexual behavior

Testicles: The two male sex glands that produce sperm.

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