Fertility Glossary S – Z

Salpinges – Fallopian tubes.

Salpingitis – Inflammation of the fallopian tubes.

Scrotum – The bag of skin that lies between a man’s legs below his penis.  It holds the testes, epididymis and the first part of the vas deferens.

Selective Reduction – A procedure in which one or more foetuses in a multiple pregnancy is/are destroyed to give the other(s) a better chance to develop.

Semen – The fluid ejaculated from the penis at orgasm containing sperm.

Semen Analysis – The study of fresh ejaculated semen under a microscope to count the number of sperms per cubic millilitre.  It also includes the assessment of their shape (morphology) and their swimming ability (motility).

Semen/Mucus Cross Hostility (SMXH) – A test to assess sperm/cervical mucus interaction.  The man’s semen is tested with partners and donor mucus.  It can help to diagnose if her mucus is killing her partner’s sperm.

Seminiferous Tubules – The long tubes in the testes in which sperm are manufactured.

Short Protocol IVF/ICSI -There is no down regulation and starts at the beginning of your period on day 1.

Speculum – An instrument used to aid examination of the vagina and the cervix.

Spermatid – An immature sperm cell.

Spermatocele – A cyst, which grows from the upper part of the epididymus or testes and contains sperm.

Spermatozoa – The medical term for sperm.  The male reproductive cells.

Sperm Morphology – Refers to the form or shape of the sperm.

Sperm Viability – Refers to whether or not the sperm are alive.

Split Ejaculate – A method of collecting semen so that the first part of the ejaculate is caught in one container and the rest in a second.  The first portion is richer in sperm and can then be used to inseminate a woman.

Stimulated Cycle – This is when drugs are given to the female in order for the ovaries to produce more eggs.

Subzonal Insemination (SUZI) – a Procedure in which sperm is inserted into the space between the zona pellucida and the egg cell’s membrane.

Superovulation – The use of fertility drugs to produce multiple follicles on the ovaries.

Surrogacy – The process involving a woman carrying s baby for another person.  In Host surrogacy, an IVF procedure is used so that the surrogate carries a child that is not genetically related to her.  Part surrogacy involves the surrogate being inseminated with the man’s semen from the commissioning couple.

Syndrome – A set of symptoms and clinical signs which, taken together, constitute a particular disease or condition.

Teratozoospermia – A condition in which the semen contains a high proportion of abnormally shaped sperm.

TESE – The extraction of sperm for ICSI by first taking a testicular biopsy and then extracting sperm from the biopsy material.

Testes – The male reproductive organs producing testosterone and sperm.

Testicular Sperm Aspiration (TESA) – The extraction of sperm for ICSI by extracting testicular tissue using a wide bore needle and syringe.

Testosterone – The male sex hormone produced in the testes.

Thyroid Gland – A two-lobed gland at the base of the front of the neck, which produces hormones that, among other things, are thought to be essential for fertility.

Thyroxine – A hormone produced by the thyroid gland.

Toxoplasmosis – An infection, which if contracted in pregnancy can damage the foetus or cause miscarriage.  Often found in animal excrement and unwashed vegetables.

Transcervical Endometrial Resection – A technique where the lining of the womb is shaved away as an alternative to a hysterectomy.

Transvaginal Aspiration – A method of removing eggs from ovarian follicles using a fine needle through the vaginal wall under ultrasound guidance.

Trisomy – A condition where 3 chromosomes of one type are present in a cell.  The commonest form of this is Down’s syndrome.

Tubal Surgery – An operation to reconstruct blocked or damaged fallopian tubes.  This is usually performed by an abdominal incision; however, more recently, tubal surgery is being performed via the laparoscope.

Turner’s syndrome – A congenital condition in which a woman has one less “X” chromosome rendering her infertile.  Pregnancy can occur using an egg donor.

Ultrasound Aspiration – A method used instead of laparoscopy to recover eggs from the ovary.  The ultrasound image is achieved by abdominal or vaginal scanning and the eggs retrieved by needle aspiration from either of these two routes.

Undescended Testicles – A term used to describe testicles, which have not descended into the scrotum.  A correctional operation is usually performed in infancy.

Ultrasound Scanning – High frequency sound waves are beamed into the pelvis and as they bounce back, are used to build up a picture. This can be performed abdominally or via the vagina.  Organs such as the uterus and ovaries can then be visualised.

Urethra – A narrow passage, which takes urine from the bladder to the outside.  In men it also carries semen during ejaculation.

Urologist – A doctor who specialises in disorders of the urinary system.

Uterine Arterial Embolisation – A procedure that blocks the blood supply to the fibroids.  This reduces rather than removes the fibroids.

Uterus – A small, hollow, muscular organ found in the female pelvis that carries the fertilised ovum through the nine months of pregnancy, enlarging to accommodate as it grows.

Vagina – Front passage or birth canal.  The tube that leads from a woman’s cervix to the outside (vulva).

Vaginismus – A spasm of the vagina muscles surrounding the vaginal opening, which can make sexual intercourse or examination difficult or impossible.

Varicocele – A varicose (swollen) vein around the vas deferens often on the left hand side.

Vas Deferens – The tube from each testicle, which transports sperm towards the urethra.

Vasectomy (Male Sterilisation) – A minor operation usually carried out under local anaesthesia, to interrupt the vas deferens, so that sperm are not present in the seminal fluid at ejaculation.

Vasography – An x-ray technique for visualising the vas deferens when looking for an obstruction.

Zonal Drilling – The use of a chemical agent or a laser beam to dissolve part of the zona pellucida – egg coating – to help the embryo hatch out of the egg so that it can implant into the endometrium.

Zona Pellucida – The outside covering (shell) of a human egg.

Zygote – A fertilised egg.

Zygote Intra-Fallopian Transfer (ZIFT) – Similar to IVF but the embryo is transferred directly into the fallopian tube rather than the uterus.