A TTC Terms Cheat Sheet

For some of us, the process of trying to get pregnant can be a real journey. Little did we know it has its own language! Here's a handy reference to some of the words and concepts you may hear about related to conception and early pregnancy.

Woman with early pregnancy test

ART (assisted reproductive technology)

All treatments or procedures that involve the handling of human eggs and sperm for the purpose of establishing a pregnancy. Types of ART include IVF, GIFT, ZIFT, embryo cryopreservation, egg or embryo donation, and surrogate birth.

Conception

The successful union of a sperm and an ovum.

Corpus luteum

A structure that develops in the ovary and secretes progesterone, which is vital to maintain a uterine environment capable of supporting pregnancy. When the corpus luteum stops functioning, and if a fertilized ovum does not embed in the uterine lining and the placenta begins producing hormones of its own, hormone levels quickly decrease and menstruation begins.

Cycle

One complete menstrual cycle. Most women menstruate on a 21 to 35 day cycle. During a 28-day cycle, ovulation will typically occur on day 14 and in a 35-day cycle, ovulation may occur on day 21.

Egg

A female reproductive cell, also called an oocyte or ovum.

Fertilization

The penetration of the egg by the sperm and the resulting fusion of genetic material that develops into an embryo.

Fertilize

When the egg is penetrated by the sperm and the resulting fusion of genetic material develops into an embryo.

Follicle

It is a fluid-filled sac in the ovary that sustains the developing egg, and from which the egg is released during ovulation. The follicle is stimulated to release the ovum by a hormone called FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone), which is made by the pituitary gland.

Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)

FSH is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland. It is necessary to achieve pregnancy because it stimulates the maturation of a follicle (within the ovary), allowing for the process of ovulation.

Gamete

A reproductive cell, either a sperm or an egg.

hCG

Human chorionic gonadotropin (or hCG) is the hormone that prolongs the lifespan of the corpus luteum as well as stimulates production of progesterone, another hormone essential to maintain the pregnancy. This is also the hormone pregnancy tests (blood and urine) detect.

Implantation

When the fertilized egg (blastocyst) settles into the thick uterine lining (endometrium). This occurs approximately 7 days after conception.

IVF (in vitro fertilization)

An ART procedure that involves removing eggs from a woman's ovaries and fertilizing them in the laboratory. The resulting embryos are then transferred into the woman's uterus through the cervix.

LH Surge

The increase in luteinizing hormone in your urine. You are most likely to become pregnant if you have intercourse within 36 hours after you detect your LH surge.

Luteinizing hormone (LH)

A female hormone secreted by the pituitary gland, necessary to regulate ovarian function.

Mittelschmerz

"Middle pain" - an ache or twinge in the lower abdomen - caused by ovulation.

Oocyte

The female reproductive cell, also called an egg or ovum.

Ovarian stimulation

The use of drugs to stimulate the ovaries to develop follicles and eggs.

Ovary

One of the two female reproductive organs in which eggs are formed.

Ovulation

The release of the egg (ovum) from the ovary. Ovulation usually occurs approximately 14 days before the next menstrual period is due.

Ovulation predictor kit

An at-home test kit is an easy way to help you find the time when you are most able to become pregnant. It quickly and accurately detects the increase in luteinizing hormone in your urine (LH Surge), which normally occurs 24 to 36 hours before ovulation.

Preconception

Before pregnancy has been achieved.

Pregnancy test

Pregnancy tests detects in urine the hormone your body makes during pregnancy: hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin). The amount of pregnancy hormone increases as pregnancy progresses. Some pregnancy tests are so sensitive that most women have enough hCG to be detected as early as three days before their expected period.

Progesterone

One of the female sex hormones, which is produced by the ovary and placenta. Progesterone prepares the lining of the uterus, for implantation of a fertilized egg, and helps maintain the pregnancy.

Scrotum

The pouch that contains the testes and their accessory organs on the human male.

Sperm

The male reproductive cell. Healthy male sperm can survive approximately 72 hours in a woman's body.

TTC

Trying to conceive

Uterus

A hollow, pear-shaped muscular organ in which the fetus develops.

Vagina

The passage leading from the uterus to the outside of the female body.

Zygote

The single cell formed by when a sperm fertilizes an egg. 

More conception tips

10 Fertility boosting tips to getting pregnant
How the pill can help fertility
Fertility Diet: What is a healthy weight for fertility

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