There’s a plethora of terminology to get to grips with when it comes to fertility (reading fertility forums can be baffling, to say the least!) so below are five popular terms and their abbreviations explained.

Assisted Hatching – AH

Before an embryo can attach the wall of the uterus, it has to hatch from its outer layer. Assisted hatching is a form of IVF whereby a hole is made in the outer layer of the embryo, or it is thinned, so that there is an increased chance of pregnancy. This is done while the embryo is in the laboratory.

Basal Body Temperature – BBT

Your basal body temperature is your lowest body temperature in a 24-hour period. If you’re trying to get pregnant, many women have had success by tracking their ovulation; this is done by charting their BBT and monitoring their cervical mucus. Before ovulation, your BBT ranges from 35 to 37 degrees Celsius.

Cervical Mucus – CM

Women who are trying to get pregnant will monitor and look for changes in their cervical mucus. As your hormones change over the course of your menstrual cycle, the colour and texture of your cervical mucus changes too. ‘Egg-white’ cervical mucus is said to be the most fertile kind.

Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin – hCG

The hormone hCG is made by the placenta during pregnancy, so a test can be used to see if a woman is pregnant by detecting hCG levels in urine.

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection – ICSI

ICSI can be used as part of an IVF treatment. It’s the most successful treatment for male infertility and only requires one sperm, which is injected directly into the egg. The fertilised egg is then transferred into the womb.

Intrauterine Insemination – IUI

Intrauterine insemination, or IUI, is a fertility treatment that involves separating fast-moving sperm from slow moving sperm to increase the chances of conception. The sperm are then placed into the uterus, near to the egg, at the time of ovulation.

Luteinising Hormone – LH

Luteinising hormones are produced by both men and women. In women, LH triggers ovulation. In men, LH regulates the function of the testes, producing testosterone, which helps sperm production.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome – PCOS

Polycystic ovary syndrome is a hormonal condition that affects how your ovaries work and can make it difficult to get pregnant. Read our post on PCOS here.

Semen Analysis – SA

An assessment of sperm quantity, quality and motility (movement). It’s also referred to as a sperm count test and is recommended for couples who are having difficulty getting pregnant.

If you want to take a look at a more in-depth guide to common fertility terms and phrases, check out our Jargon Buster, which includes a free downloadable guide and an interactive glossary.

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Mr Andrew Drakeley Andrew Drakeley

Mr Andrew Drakeley is the Clinical Director at the Hewitt Fertility Centre, working principally at the Liverpool Women’s site but with managerial responsibility for Knutsford.

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