We all have to go through the beginning. That awful time of learning that you may need medical help to have a child. The conversations with your doctor, your partner. And then the swift tumble into the world of infertility – the research, treatments, pamphlets and appointments.
When you reach out the the Internet for help, what you find can be overwhelming. Acronyms that you don’t understand, statistics and research that may or may not relate to your specific situation, the endless list of organizations that offer information and support. It can be a stressful experience to educate yourself on where you are now.
If you’ve found our community here at Circle + Bloom, we want you to know this is a safe place. A welcoming group. We are all on our own journey, but we walk together, lifting each other up and standing side-by-side in support and love.
For those of us who have been walking this path for longer, the language of infertility has become part of our regular vocabulary. The acronyms are part of our shorthand for treatments and conditions and waiting periods – common terms that are part of our daily life for now. But in the beginning, we had to look up what it all means, too.
We want to ease your introduction into the world of infertility – to help you know that you are not alone. We are here now, in the beginning, and we will be with you every step of the way. We are here to answer questions, to listen to your pain and your fears, to cheer your joys, and to hold your hand through the stress and waiting. We are here.
In the beginning, it may help to know the infertility shorthand. We have gathered the most common acronyms you’ll see in groups like the Circle + Bloom Private Facebook Group (to join, please email firstname.lastname@example.org) and on infertility blogs and websites.
You can save this list to help you understand what you read online and in research.
- 2WW: The two week wait. The amount of time it takes for a fertilized egg that has implanted in the uterine wall to start emitting enough of the hCG hormone to be detected by a blood pregnancy test. This can be one of the most stressful parts of treatment as you wait to discover if you are pregnant.
- AF: Aunt Flo, your period.
- AMH: Anti-Müllerian hormone. This protein is the best predictor of a woman’s ovarian reserve.
- ART: Assisted Reproductive Technology. An umbrella term for multiple types of fertility treatment which use laboratory and other technology to help a couple get pregnant.
- IVF is the most well-known type of ART
- GIFT: Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT) occurs when unfertilized eggs and sperm are placed into a woman’s fallopian tubes.
- Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer (ZIFT) is similar to GIFT except that the fertilization occurs in the laboratory and then the embryo is placed into the woman’s fallopian tube.
- Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) occurs when an individual sperm is directly injected into an egg, bypassing the usual struggle that sperm undergo to penetrate the egg’s outer membrane. Fertilized embryosare then implanted into the woman’s uterus via IVF.
- Embryo Cryopreservation preserves embryos that were created in the laboratory using harvested eggs and sperm but were not been selected for implantation. These embryos are frozen so that they may be thawed and transferred to the woman’s uterus at a later date.
- BD: Baby Dance. Have intercourse for conception purposes or by extension any form of insemination.
- Beta: A beta pregnancy test that identifies the presence of the hormone hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin).
- BFN: Big Fat Negative (pregnancy test)
- BFP: Big Fat Positive (pregnancy test)
- BW: Bloodwork
- CD: Cycle Day
- CH: Crosshairs. The lines drawn on the chart to indicate ovulation.
- Clomid (clomiphene citrate or Serophene) is an oral medication that is commonly used to induce ovulation in women who do not develop and release an egg (ovulate) on their own.
- CM: Cervical mucus. Also known as cervical fluid, it is produced by your cervix as you approach ovulation.
- CP: Cervical Position
- DE: Donor egg.
- DH, DD, DS: Dear Husband, Dear Daughter, Dear Son
- DPO: Days Past Ovulation
- #DP/#DT: Days past / Day Transfer. This is an IVF term. (Ex. 7dp5dt means “7 days past a 5-day transfer)
- E2: Estradiol, or your level of estrogen. The estrogen level helps doctors estimate how many eggs you will have for retrieval during your cycle.
- EDD: Estimated Due Date
- ENDO: ENDO stands for endometriosis, a condition that can often cause infertility.
- FSH: Follicle Stimulating Hormone. It is released by the brain to stimulate the ovarian follicles (tiny fluid-filled sacs within the ovary containing a maturing egg) to grow and develop.
- GC: Gestational Carrier. Commonly used for women who are unable to carry their own child or for same-sex couples. Different than a “traditional surrogate,” gestational carriers have no biological link to the child(ren).
- HPT: Home pregnancy test. Measures levels of the hormone hcG which are produced in pregnancy.
- HcG: Human Chorionic Gonadotropin is a hormone produced during pregnancy
- HSG: Hysterosalpingogram. This test determines if the uterine cavity is normal and the fallopian tubes are open.
- IVI: Intra-vaginal insemination
- ICI: Intra-cervical insemination
- ICSI: Intracytoplasmic sperm injection. A treatment during which an embryologist will select a single healthy sperm and inject it directly into the center of the egg.
- IUI: Intra-uterine insemination. This is a low-tech fertility treatment that involves placing sperm inside a woman’s uterus, providing the sperm with a shorter distance to reach the egg.
- IVF: In-vitro fertilization. An egg is combined with sperm in a laboratory dish. If the egg fertilizes and the cells begin to divide, the resulting embryo is transferred into the woman’s uterus where it will hopefully implant in the uterine lining and further develop.
- LH: Luteinizing Hormone. A rise of this hormone triggers ovulation, or the release of an egg.
- LMP: Last menstrual period. The first day of your last period.
- LP: Luteal Phase. The stage of your menstrual cycle that occurs after ovulation (when your ovaries release an egg) and before your period starts.
- LPD: Luteal Phase Defect. A condition that disrupts your menstrual cycle by preventing the uterus lining from growing properly each month. This can make it difficult to become or remain pregnant.
- M/C: Miscarriage
- MF: Male factor infertility. Nearly 40 percent of infertility is related to male factor.
- O: Ovulation
- OHSS: Ovarian hyperstimulation. A rare complication of ovarian stimulation in which a woman develops fluid in the abdomen and has enlarged ovaries.
- OPK: Ovulation Prediction Kit. OPKs measure luteinizing hormone, the last hormone to peak before ovulation.
- POAS: Pee on a stick
- P4: Progesterone. The hormone that help determine if and when ovulation has occurred, or if there has been an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage.
- PCOS: Polycystic ovary syndrome. A disorder in which the ovaries produce excessive male hormones and develop small cysts that can prevent ovulation.
- PGS: Preconception genetic screening. This can test prospective parents for over 100 different diseases and syndromes.
- PGD: Preimplantation genetic diagnosis. Used in conjunction with IVF to select embryos that are free of chromosomal abnormalities and specific genetic disorders.
- RE: Reproductive Endocrinologist (fertility specialist)
- RPL: Recurrent pregnancy loss. Two or more consecutive, spontaneous pregnancy losses before the pregnancies reach 20 weeks.
- SA: Semen analysis. A test that shows the number of sperm that are present, whether they are normal, and how well they move.
- SI: Secondary infertility. The inability to become pregnant—despite engaging in unprotected intercourse—following the birth of one or more biological children who were born without the aid of fertility treatment or medications.
- TTC: Trying to conceive.
I hope this list isn’t overwhelming. It’s a lot of information – but you don’t need it all right now. Keep it somewhere to reference later, when you have a question or need an easy reference guide.
Helpful Organizations and Websites
You will probably do your own research, but it may help to have a list of some of the more reputable sources that many of our community members have used for information and support. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Reproductive Facts (from the American Society of Reproductive Medicine)
- Resolve: The National Infertility Association
- INCIID: The International Council on Infertility Information Dissemination
- Creating a Family: The National Infertility and Adoption Education Nonprofit
The Power of Meditation and Visualization
If you’re interested in learning about how meditation and visualization can help in your path to having a child, try our free Fertility Meditation Program, or explore some of our other programs that support your mind-body connection for IVF, IUI, PCOS and other infertility needs.
With love & gratitude,