The A-Z Glossary of Conception |

The A-Z Glossary of Conception

Are you TTC? Here are some words you may frequently hear or read throughout your journey, with their definitions to help.

Posted on

2 July 2017

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The A-Z Glossary of Conception

For some, the simple act of sexual intercourse allows easy beginnings for conception. But for the rest of us, things can be a little trickier, to begin with.

Regardless of which category you fall into, planning a family comes with all sorts of different words and phrases you may not necessarily have heard of before or fully understand.

So to help you get clued-up, here are the most common words used during a journey to conceiving a baby, and their definitions.

The absence of a menstrual period in a woman of reproductive age. Physiological states of this are seen during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Artificial Insemination (AI)
The procedure whereby sperm is deposited via the vagina into the cervix/uterus using a catheter.

The complete absence of sperm in the semen.

Basal body temperature
The lowest temperature attained by the body, usually measured immediately after awakening and before any physical activity is undertaken.

Blastocyst Transfer
A procedure whereby an embryo is left to develop for about 5 or 6 days to reach the ‘blastocyst stage’ before being moved into the uterus for implantation.

The cervix or neck of the uterus is the lower, narrow portion of the uterus where it joins with the top end of the vagina.

The successful union of a sperm and an ovum

Corpus Luteum
A structure that develops to the ovary and secretes progesterone, which is vital to maintain a uterine environment capable of supporting pregnancy.

Means one complete menstrual cycle. Most women menstruate on a 21 to 35-day cycle. During a 28-day cycle, ovulation typically occurs on day 14, and in a 35-day one, on day 21.

Ectopic Pregnancy
A pregnancy in which the embryo implants outside the uterus and cannot be sustained.

The early stages of foetal growth from conception to the eighth week of pregnancy.

A condition where cells that normally line the uterine cavity grow outside the womb, like the fallopian tubes, ovaries or even bladder or intestines. The cause is mainly unknown, but scarring may cause conception issues in the future.

The lining of the uterus, which is shed during the menstrual cycle.

Fallopian Tube
A funnel-shaped passage through which sperm are guided towards the egg and fertilised eggs are conveyed to the uterine cavity.

The penetration of the egg by the sperm, which then results in the developing embryo and the creation of a zygote.

This is a fluid-filled sac in the ovary that sustains the developing egg, and from which the egg is released during ovulation. This is stimulated to release the ovum (egg) by a hormone called FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone).

Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH)
FSH is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland and is necessary to achieve pregnancy as it stimulates the maturation of a follicle within the ovary, allowing for the ovulation process.

This means a reproductive cell; sperm for men, egg (ovum) for female.

This means Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, which is the hormone that prolongs the life of the corpus luteum as well as stimulating progesterone, another hormone essential for maintaining pregnancy. This is also the hormone that pregnancy tests (both blood and urine) detect!

When the fertilised egg settles into the thick uterine lining. This happens around 6-10 days after conception.

In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)
Eggs produced with the assistance of fertility drugs are retrieved from the woman’s body and fertilised by sperm in a laboratory environment. The resulting embryos are transferred via a catheter to the uterus.

LH Surge
The increase in luteinizing hormone in your urine. You’re most likely to fall pregnant if you have intercourse within 1 or 2 days after you detect your LH surge.

Luteinising Hormone (LH)
A female hormone released by the pituitary gland, necessary to regulate ovarian function.

Typically diagnosed 12 months after a woman’s last menstrual cycle, it naturally occurs when the ovaries begin decreasing their production of the female sex hormones and marks the end of a woman’s fertility.

Spontaneous loss of a viable embryo or foetus from the uterus.

Means ‘middle pain’, which is an ache or twinge in the lower abdomen caused by ovulation.

One of the two female reproductive organs, in which eggs are formed.

The release of the egg from the ovary. This occurs around 14 days before the next menstrual period is due.

Ovulation Test
A home ovulation test detects a woman’s LH surge, or the time a woman ovulates, allowing a determination of when conception is most likely to take place.

A matured, female’s egg created in the ovary.

Pregnancy Test
These detect in your urine (or blood) the hormone your body makes during pregnancy, which is hCG. The amount of pregnancy hormone increases as the pregnancy progresses.

One of the female sex hormones, which is produced by the ovary and placenta. This helps to prepare the lining of the uterus, for implantation of a fertilised egg and helps maintain pregnancy.

Secondary Infertility
A condition that affects couples who have already conceived, have produced a first child but are now having difficulty adding to their family.

The gamete/male reproductive cell – a healthy one can survive around 72 hours in a woman’s body.

A hollow, pear-shaped muscular organ where implantation takes place and the fetus develops.

The passage leading from the uterus to the outside of the female body

The single cell formed when a sperm fertilises an ovum.