Fertility Glossary F – H

Factor V Leiden –  This is an inherited disorder of blood clotting, and is the name of a specific gene mutation that results in thrombophilia.

Fallopian Tubes – A pair of small, fine, delicate tubes where fertilisation usually takes place.  The tubes transport and nourish the egg and sperm.

Fertilisation – The penetration of an egg by a sperm.

Fibroid – A fibrous usually non-cancerous tumour of the muscle of the uterus.

Fimbriae – The wafting tentacle like ends of each fallopian tube that “collect” the egg and guide it into the tube.

Flow Cytometry – Sperm sorting

Foetus – Middle stage of development between an embryo and baby, when all main recognisable features are shown i.e. from the end of the second month of pregnancy.

Follicle – Circular fluid filled cavity within the ovary containing a developing egg.

Follicle Stimulating Hormone – A hormone produced by the pituitary gland in the brain.  In women it stimulates ovulation and the production of oestrogen.  In men it stimulates the production of sperm.

Fundus – The upper portion of the uterus.

Gamete Intra-fallopian Transfer (GIFT) – This treatment involves stimulation of the ovaries and then under a laparoscopy, the eggs and prepared sperm are then placed into the fallopian tubes where natural fertilisation normally takes place.

Gametes – Female and male reproductive cells – ova and sperm.

Genes – Parts of the chromosomes that control the inheritance of hereditary characteristics e.g. hair and eye colour.

Genetic – Pertaining to hereditary characteristics.

Genome – All the genetic material within the cells of an individual.

Gonadotrophin Releasing Hormone (GnRH) – This is produced by the hypothalamus in the brain to stimulate the pituitary gland to produce (LH) luteinising hormone and (FSH) follicle stimulating hormone.

Gonads – The sex glands that make sex cells.  These are the ovaries in the female and the testes in the male.

Gynaecologist – A doctor who specialises in the investigation and treatment of the female reproductive organs and functions.

Hormone – A natural occurring chemical produced by the endocrine glands in the body, that circulate in the bloodstream to give an effect on a distant organ or organs.  E.g. oestrogen produced by the ovaries and testosterone produced by the testes.

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) – Substitute for the female hormones oestrogen and progesterone.  Usually given when the levels fall due to menopause.

Hostility Mucus – This is used to describe a poor interaction between cervical mucus and sperm.  This can be due to poor timing of tests, ovulation problems, poor quality sperm, infection in either partner or antibody production.

Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin (HCG) – The hormone produced by the placental cells (afterbirth) in pregnancy.  Detection of this hormone in blood or urine is the basis of pregnancy testing.  The hormone mimics the luteinising hormone (LH), which is normally produced by the woman at ovulation time.  Preparations of HCG are used to stimulate ovulation and are sometimes given following procedures like IVF or ICSI to help the embryo implant.

Hydrocele – A swelling or accumulation of fluid around the testicle.

Hydrosalpinx – A fluid filled swelling of the outer ends of one or both fallopian tube(s).

Hydrotubation – A washing or flushing of the fallopian tubes with a sterile solution, medication or dye.

Hyperplasia – An abnormal overgrowth of tissues or organs of the body.

Hyperstimulation – This is an excessive response of the ovaries to ovarian stimulation.

Hypothalamus – A part of the brain that serves as a link between the higher centres of the brain and the pituitary gland, responsible for the control of the pituitary gland.

Hysterectomy – Removal of the uterus.

Hysterosalpingogram (HSG) – An x-ray study in which a radio-opaque fluid is injected into the uterus so that doctors can see the outline of the inside of the womb and the fallopian tubes.

Hysteroscopy – The use of a very fine telescope to view the inside of the uterus via the cervix.

Hysterotomy – A surgical opening of the uterus to perform a surgical procedure e.g. removal of fibroids.