Glossary – Family Formation via Pregnancy

The following is an A-Z of terms commonly used in the process of forming a family via pregnancy.

Anonymous Donor: A person who donated sperm or eggs with the intention of never meeting resulting children.

Artificial Insemination: An alternative term for donor insemination (see definition below).

Assisted Reproduction: Any treatment or procedure that involves surgically removing eggs from ovaries and combining the eggs with sperm to help achieve pregnancy. Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is sometimes also considered an assisted reproductive procedure, even though it does not involve the manipulation of eggs.

Co-parenting: A situation where individuals who are not married or in a romantic relationship raise a child or children together

Cryopreservation: A process by which embryos, eggs or sperm are frozen at very low temperatures in a substance such as liquid nitrogen in order to keep them viable for an extended period of time.

Donor: A person who donates sperm or egg to help another person become pregnant.

Donor Insemination: The process through which donated sperm is placed inside a vagina or uterus with the intention of achieving pregnancy. The term is preferred in the LGBTQ community over “articifical insemination” as it does not imply there is something “artificial” about this method of conception.

Donor Siblings: People who are biologically related to one another by having the same sperm or egg donor.

Embryo Transfer (ET): A simple medical procedure following in vitro fertilization that involves placing a fertilized egg (embryo) into the uterus using a small catheter inserted through the cervix

Fertility Preservation: An effort to help individuals retain their ability to reproduce often involving cryopreservation of egg or sperm. Recommended in the transgender community prior to medical transition.

Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET): A simple medical procedure where an embryo that was previously cryogenically frozen is thawed and placed into the uterus using a small catheter inserted through the cervix

Gestational Carrier or Gestational Surrogate: A woman who carries a pregnancy for an intended parent or parents and who has no genetic link to the baby or babies born as a result of her pregnancy.

Implantation: This occurs when a fertilized egg or eggs attach to the wall of the uterus at the beginning of pregnancy.

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI): A procedure in which a single sperm is injected directly into an egg prior to IVF.

Intended Parents (IPs): Prospective parents using surrogacy, ART, or pursuing adoption

Intrauterine Insemination (IUI): Sometimes called artificial insemination or donor insemination, IUI is a medical procedure that involves placing sperm via a tube directly into an individual’s uterus to facilitate fertilization. The sperm can come from a partner or a donor and is performed in a doctor’s office.

Intravaginal Insemination (IVI): Another form of artificial insemination or donor insemination, IVI is the non-surgical, minimally invasive process of placing sperm directly into the vagina. This method can often be done at home without medical providers.

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF): A procedure that involves removing eggs from an individual’s ovaries and fertilizing them outside of the body with sperm in a laboratory dish. The resulting embryos are then transferred into a uterus through the cervix. IVF can also be utilized in conjunction with donor eggs or donor embryos.

Known Donor: A sperm or egg donor whose identity is known to the individuals who were created with the donor’s genetic material.

Open Identity Donor (aslso known as “Identity Release Donor”, “Willing-to-be-known Donor”): A donor who donated sperm or egg with the intention of having his or her identity and contact information released to the children the donation created when the children turn 18.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS): A hormonal disorder of the ovaries that may affect those attempting to get pregnant. People with PCOS may have infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods or excess androgen levels. The ovaries may develop numerous small collections of fluid (follicles) and fail to regularly release eggs.

Reciprocal In Vitro Fertilization (R-IVF, Co-maternity): Couples where both individuals have a uterus and/or eggs may choose to retrieve the eggs from one partner, inseminate those eggs with donor sperm and then have the resulting embryo(s) placed into the other partner.

Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE): Physicians specializing in reproductive endocrine disorders and infertility who have undergone additional fellowship training.

Secondary Infertility: The inability to conceive after the birth of one or more children.

Single Embryo Transfer (SET): The implantation of only one fertilized embryo into the uterus of either an intended parent or a gestational carrier via IVF to reduce the chances of multiples.

Semen Analysis: The microscopic examination of semen to determine the number of sperm (sperm count) as well as their shape (morphology) and movement (motility).

Sperm Washing: This process uses a centrifuge to separate out good, or viable sperm from dead, abnormally-shaped, and slow-moving sperm, as well as the surrounding seminal fluid. Standard sperm washing is typically done prior to IUI, and IVF procedures. An additional purification process can also be done to remove HIV from semen.

Traditional Carrier or Traditional Surrogate: An individual who carries a pregnancy for an intended parent or parents achieved by using the surrogate’s egg and a donor or the intended parent’s sperm. Traditional surrogates have a genetic link to the baby or babies born as a result of the pregnancy.

Testicular Sperm Extraction (TESE): Surgical removal of testicular tissue that may serve as a source of living sperm to be utilized in an ART procedure.

Unexplained Infertility: Also called idiopathic infertility, a cause or combination of causes resulting in an inability to conceive which cannot be explained or diagnosed. Unexplained infertility often responds to treatments such as IVF.

Unknown Donor: Similar to “anonymous donor,” this describes a person who donated sperm or eggs with the intention of never meeting resulting children. The word “unknown” as recently replaced “anonymous,” as genetic testing is now so commonplace that no donor can be guaranteed true anonymity.

Acronyms Often Used Online When Trying to Conceive (TTC)

AF: Aunt Flo, a euphemism for a period or menstruation cycle
BBT: Basal Body Temperature. Since there is a slight increase in your basal body temperature just after ovulation, some individuals take their temperature before getting out of bed each morning to better track their cycle when trying to conceive.
BFN: Big Fat Negative. A “not pregnant” result on a pregnancy test.
BFP: Big Fat Positive. A “pregnant” result on a pregnancy test.
CD: Cycle Day. Cycle Day 1 is the first day of menstruation.
CM: Cervical Mucus, (also referred to as cervical fluid) is produced during your cycle. Your mucus increases in amount and consistency throughout your cycle. It is the most fertile when it is clear and stretchy.
DH: Dear Husband. The male partner of a pregnant person.
EDD: Estimated Delivery Date or due date.
FMU: First Morning Urine. The first morning urine contains the highest levels of hCG. A pregnancy test is able to detect pregnancy sooner with a higher concentration of hCG than with urine used after your FMU.
FTM: First Time Mom. A pregnant woman who has not been pregnant before.
FTM: Female To Male. A transgender person who was assigned female at birth and identifies as a man.
hCG: Human chorionic gonadotropin, a hormone that is created during pregnancy. It originates from a growing embryo immediately after conception then by the placenta. After implantation, the placenta emits hCG into your bloodstream and can be detected by a pregnancy test..
IP: Intended parent.
LO: Little One. In reference to someone’s baby.
MS: Morning Sickness. During pregnancy, many people experience morning sickness,or all day sickness. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, lightheadedness, sensitivity to smell, and fatigue.
O: Ovulation, or when the egg is released from the ovary. Ovulation usually occurs approximately 14 days before the next menstrual period is due.
PG: Pregnant
POAS: Pee on a Stick, used in reference to taking an at-home pregnancy test.
PVN: Prenatal Vitamin.
TTC: Trying To Conceive. This refers to people who are actively attempting to get pregnant.
TWW: Two Week Wait, the period of time between ovulation and taking a pregnancy test.

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Glossary: Family Building Via Pregnancy
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