Fertility Glossary D – E

Dermoid Cyst – An ovarian cyst that can grow quite large – up to 15cm across. They often contain odd things such as hair, parts of teeth or bone, fatty tissue, etc.  This is because the cyst has developed from cells which make eggs in the ovary. As an egg can develop into any type of cell, it allows the cyst to make these different types of tissue.

Dilatation & Curettage (D & C) – An operation to stretch the canal of the cervix and then explore the cavity of the womb to obtain a sample of the womb lining.

Diploid Cell – a cell with two sets of chromosomes, one from the mother and one from the father.

Dizygotic Twins – Non identical twins.

DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) – The basic biological hereditary molecules, which control many cell functions.

DNA Fragmentation Test – This test is an effective method for measuring thousands of sperm in an ejaculate. Sperm are stained with a fluorescent probe that interacts with the DNA molecule. The fluorescence signal changes when the DNA is fragmented.

Donor Insemination – Artificial insemination using donated sperm.

Douching – The use of fluids to irrigate the vagina.

Dysmenorrhoea – Painful menstruation – periods.

Dyspareunia – Painful or difficult sexual intercourse.

Ectopic Pregnancy – A pregnancy that occurs anywhere other than in the uterus.  This can occur in the fallopian tubes, ovaries or abdominal cavity.

Egg Donation – It is a procedure in which a woman donates her eggs to another.  It is typically used for an infertile patient who cannot produce her own eggs; egg quality is poor or when the woman is the carrier of a genetic abnormality.

Egg Recovery – Part of an assisted conception technique procedure.  The eggs are aspirated from the stimulated ovary by laparoscopy or ultrasound – abdominally or vaginally

Egg Sharing – A procedure where a patient needs to undergo IVF treatment and is willing to donate, usually half of her eggs harvested during a cycle of treatment to another patient.  The recipient would normally cover the cost.

Ejaculation – The ejecting of seminal fluid from the penis either by masturbation or sexual intercourse – male orgasm.

Electrodiathermy – A procedure which converts electricity into heat and which is used by surgeons to stop bleeding from small blood vessels.  It has recently been found that by using it to burn small holes in the ovary, ovulation can sometimes be successfully induced in some women with polycystic ovarian syndrome.

Embryo – An early stage of development of a baby in the womb.

Embryo Transfer – part of an assisted conception procedure when fertilised eggs are transferred into the uterus.

Endocrine – Pertaining to hormones.  Endocrine glands produce hormones, which are passed into the bloodstream and affect parts of the body, which are often distant from the gland itself.

Endocrinologist – A doctor/scientist who specialises in disorders of the endocrine system.

Endometrial Ablation – The womb lining is destroyed e.g. by laser.  This is an alternative treatment to hysterectomy.

Endometrial Biopsy – the taking of a small sample of endometrium for examination in a laboratory.

Endometrial Hyperplasia – This is an increased growth of the endometrium.

Endometrioma – Also known as a “Chocolate Cyst”.  This is a cyst on the ovary that is lined with endometrium and bleeds at the same time as menstruation. An ovarian cyst containing endometrium that bleeds at the same time as menstruation.

Endometriosis – The presence of endometrium outside the womb.  This can appear anywhere within the pelvis and even the lungs.

Endometrium – The lining of the womb.

Endoscopy – The visualisation of the interior of the body using instruments such as a laparoscope (abdominal cavity) and hysteroscope (uterus).

Enzymes – Proteins produced by the cells in the body but capable of acting independently of the cells.  They induce and hasten chemical changes in the body.

Epididymis – The long coiled tubule attached to the back of the testis in which the sperm undergo further maturation.

Erection – The state in the penis when it is enlarged and rigid.

EEVA (Early Embryo Viability Assessment) – Test designed to provide embryologists with clear information that will help them to reliably predict which embryos are most likely to continue developing with a new level of accuracy.