Fertility Glossary I – N

Implantation – The embedding of a fertilised ovum in the endometrium of the uterus.

Impotence – The inability of a man to produce or maintain an erection of his penis.

Infertility – Failure to conceive after regular unprotected sexual intercourse.

Interstitial Cells – The cells between the seminiferous tubules of the testes.  Some are called “Leydig cells” and produce the male hormone testosterone.

Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) – A process in which a single sperm is inserted directly into the cytoplasm of an oocyte, thus bypassing all natural barriers a sperm has to encounter.  Usually used when there is a low sperm count or reduced sperm motility.

Intra Uterine Contraceptive Device (IUCD) – A device implanted into the uterus to prevent pregnancy occurring.  Can sometimes cause infertility.

Intra Uterine Insemination (IUI) – Insertion of a prepared sperm sample into the uterus through the cervix.

In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) – A procedure whereby an egg or eggs are recovered by laparoscopy or vaginal ultrasound aspiration.  This can be a natural or stimulated cycle, when drugs are used to make the ovaries produce more eggs.  They are then placed with a specially prepared sperm sample – partners or donors – so that fertilisation can take place.  The pre-embryo(s) is/are then transferred to the uterus when it/they may implant and develop.

Kallman’s Syndrome – Kallmann Syndrome (a very rare genetic endocrine condition) affects both males and females (although it is about 5 times more common in males). In both, the hormones LH and FSH are low and fertility can be achieved by hormone replacement of these missing hormones.  Further assisted reproduction techniques such as IVF or ICSI may be necessary if other medical conditions warrant it, but some men and women with KS have had children with only LH/FSH hormone replacement and otherwise natural conception.

Kartagener’s Syndrome – This causes problems with sperm tails and requires treatment using ICSI.  Sufferers often have poor lung function.

Karyotype – The description of chromosomes, their shape and size etc.

Klinefelter’s Syndrome – A congenital abnormality of men when there is one “X” chromosome too many.  Men with this condition are usually sterile.

Laparoscopy – A technique in which the internal abdominal organs can be visualised directly, by using an instrument, which is introduced through a small incision in the abdominal wall below the navel.

Laser – Light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation.  Laser light is used to cut or destroy tissue e.g. tubal surgery and endometriosis.

Long Protocol IVF/ICSI – The most popular type, and is usually started on day 1 or day 21 of your cycle, when you start taking the down regulation drug.  Followed by introducing a follicle stimulating drug after approx.10-14 days.

Luteal Phase Defect – The luteal phase occurs after ovulation  and before your period starts. If you have a luteal phase defect, the lining of your uterus does not grow properly each month. This can make it difficult to become or remain pregnant.

Luteinising Hormone (LH) – A pituitary gonadotrophic hormone, which stimulates ovulation to take place.  In the male it is responsible for the release of testosterone from the testes.

MAR Test – Stands for mixed antiglobulin reaction. The test is used to diagnose immunological infertility, which means that antisperm antibodies are present that prevent conception from taking place.

Menarche – The age at which menstruation starts.

Menopause – The cessation of menstruation usually occurring around the age of 50 years.  “The change of life”.  The menopause is said to be premature when it occurs in a woman under the age of 35 years.

Menstruation – “The period”.  The endometrium is shed if an embryo does not implant and produce a pregnancy.

Micoplasma – An infection that possibly causes fertility problems and miscarriage

Microsurgical Epididymal Sperm Aspiration (MESA) – A surgical method performed under a general anaesthetic to collect sperm from the surface of the epididymis and then used in ICSI.

Miscarriage – The loss of a pregnancy before the foetus is 24 weeks old.  The medical terminology is “abortion” and is further clarified by terms such as inevitable, incomplete, missed and recurrent.

Mittelschmerz – A German term used to describe the lower abdominal pain women feel which occurs at mid-cycle and is generally assumed to be associated with ovulation.

Monozygotic Twins – identical twins formed from one egg.

Motility – The power of movement.  Usually used to describe sperm, which move under their own power.

Mucus – Cervical – A substance produced by the cells of the cervix.  This changes under the influence of hormones.  At ovulation time, the mucus appears clear and stretchy (like uncooked egg white).  It is then capable of being penetrated by sperm.

Myomectomy – Open surgery to remove fibroids.

Necrospermia – A condition in which the semen only contains dead sperm.

Nuchal Translucency Scan (NT) – A scan done to work out the possibility of carrying a Down’s Syndrome baby. Done between 11 and 13 weeks of pregnancy to measure the amount of fluid in the folds at the back of the neck of the foetus.  You can have a combined test which involves a blood test at 10 weeks followed by the NT scan.  A computer then works out the possibility, using your blood, your age, your weight, stage of pregnancy along with the NT results to work out further if you are at risk.