Doctors appear to speak an alien language at the best of times but throw in the vast number of treatments, phases, and conditions under the umbrella of fertility, and you can quickly feel lost before you’ve even begun.
Luckily we’re here to translate the gibberish for you – here are 105 important fertility acronyms (decoded)!
Fertility Acronyms and Their Meanings
1. 2WW: Two Week Wait
The luteal phase of pregnancy between ovulation and getting your period (or a positive pregnancy test).
2. AC: Agnus Castus aka Chasteberry
An herbal remedy believed to help with infertility.
3. ACA: Anti-cardiolipin Antibodies
Antibodies that prevent placental growth and implantation.
4. ACTH: Adrenal Carticotropic Hormone
Hormone released by the pituitary gland that regulates the body’s stress response.
5. AF: Aunt Flo
Slang term for your menstrual cycle.
6. AH: Assisted Hatching
Technique used with IVF that can increase your chances of conception.
7. AI: Artificial Insemination
The deliberate injection of sperm into a female cervix or uterine cavity.
8. AMH: Anti-Mullerian Hormone
Hormone produced by reproductive tissue in the ovaries and testicles.
9. ANA: Anti-nuclear Antibodies
Autoantibodies that bind to cells in the nucleus, a non-specific marker of autoimmune disease.
10. APA: Anti-phospholipid Antibodies
Antibodies associated with blood clots and infarction in the placenta.
11. APTT: Activated Partial Thromboplastin Time
Test measuring how long it takes for your blood to produce a clot.
12. ART: Assisted Reproductive Technology
Collective term for procedures that involve the surgical removal of eggs from a woman’s ovaries, lab work to combine eggs with sperm, donating eggs, etc.
13. ASA: Anti-sperm Antibody
Antibodies that mistakenly target and attack sperm as invaders.
14. ASRM: American Society of Reproductive Medicine
A non-profit dedicated to the scientific advancement of reproductive medicine.
15. BA: Baby Aspirin
A low-dose of aspirin, named due to the small amount (this is not safe for children, however).
16. BBT: Basal Body Temperature
The reading of your body temperature when you are fully at rest. Ovulation can cause a slight increase in your BBT.
17. BC: Birth Control
Oral contraceptive pill, implant, or shot to prevent pregnancy.
18. BD: Baby Dance
Couples’ slang for sex, i.e., doing the baby dance!
19. BD: Babydust
An expression of good luck (like fairy dust) in the hopes of conceiving e.g. “baby dust for you!”. Also a gender-swaying method.
20. Beta: Beta Blood Test
Another term for the blood test to monitor pregnancy.
21. BF: Breastfeeding
Shorthand for breastfeed, breastfed, or breastfeeding.
22. BFN: Big Fat Negative
Slang term expressing disappointment at getting a negative pregnancy result.
23. BFP: Big Fat Positive
Slang term expressing excitement at getting a positive pregnancy result.
24. BP: Blood Pressure
The force at which your heart pumps blood around the body, measured in 2 numbers relating millimeters of mercury, e.g., 120/80 mm.
25. BR: Bed Rest
Your doctor will recommend this when you need to limit activity to reduce stress and strain during pregnancy.
26. B/W or b/w: Blood Work
Collective term for blood testing to assess overall health.
27. CAH: Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia
An inherited disorder of the adrenal glands in boys and girls that cause the glands to be larger than normal.
28. CASA: Computer-assisted Semen Analysis
Electronic imaging system that evaluates individual sperm.
29. CB: Cycle Buddy
Slang for friends and fellow people within the infertility community.
30. CBAVD: Congenital Bilateral Absence of Vas Deferens
Occurring in males when the tubes carrying sperm out of the testes have not developed properly – found in 1-2% of males with infertility.
31. CBD: Clearblue Digital
Clearblue Digital test (popular form of pregnancy test that reads “Pregnant” or “Not Pregnant” with a weeks indicator).
32. CCT: Clomiphene Citrate Challenge Test
Infertility blood test to measure a woman’s ovary reserves.
33. CD: Cycle Day
The first day of your period.
34. CM: Cervical Mucus
Fluid released from your cervix that changes texture throughout your ovulation cycle.
35. COH: Controlled Ovarian Hyperstimulation
The administration of injectable or oral medication to induce ovulation.
36. CP: Chemical Pregnancy
A very early form of miscarriage that happens within 5 weeks when an embryo embeds in the uterine lining and stops developing.
37. CPFM: ClearPlan Fertility Monitor
Popular home urine testing system as an aid for conception.
38. D&C: Dilation & Curettage
A minor surgical procedure to remove tissue from the uterus. Also to dilate/investigate the uterus.
39. D&E: Dilation and Evacuation
Method of tissue removal from the uterus performed between weeks 15 and 24.
40. DE: Donor Eggs
Referring to the eggs retrieved from an egg donor.
41. DHEAS: Dehydroepiandrosterone
Hormone produced by the adrenal glands to make estrogen and androgens.
42. DOR: Diminished Ovarian Reserve
Condition resulting from injury, disease, or normal aging in which the ovaries lose their reproductive potential.
43. DPO: Days Post/Past Ovulation
The number of days after your ovulation date.
44. DPR: Days Post Retrieval
Number of days following an egg retrieval procedure.
45. DPT: Days Post Transfer
The days following an egg/embryo transfer.
46. DTD: Do the Deed
Slang for having sex (“doing the deed”).
47. DX: Diagnosis
Shorthand for medical diagnosis.
48. E2: Estradiol
An estrogen steroid hormone. An E2 test measures the level of estradiol in a woman’s blood.
49. EB: Endometrial Biopsy
Measure in which a small piece of tissue is removed from the uterus lining for examination.
50. EDD: Estimated Due Date
When fertilization is successful and a positive pregnancy result is recorded, you can then estimate when your due date will be.
51. ENDO: Endometriosis
Shorthand for endometriosis – a disorder that causes the tissue that normally lines the uterus to grow outside the uterus.
52. ER/ET: Egg Retrieval/Embryo Transfer
Referring to the surgical procedures of retrieving eggs for freezing or fertilizing and the procedure of implanting or transferring the newly formed embryo into the uterus.
53. ETA: Embryo Toxicity Assay
A test that measures circulating substances that could potentially kill pre-implantation embryos.
54. ETF: Embryo Toxicity Factor
This refers to the body’s immune system response to an embryo.
55. FET: Fresh/Frozen Embryo Transfer
Steps within IVF in which an unfrozen or frozen embryo is transferred into a uterus (frozen embryos are adorably dubbed “Frosties” on fertility forums!).
56. FSH: Follicle Stimulating Hormone
The female hormone responsible for controlling the menstrual cycle and stimulating the growth of eggs.
57. FTTA: Fertile Thoughts To All
Friendly slang term that members of the fertility community often sign off with.
58. FT: Full Term
Referring to a full-term pregnancy (around 39 weeks).
59. GIFT: Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer
A 3-step procedure involving the removal of eggs, combining them with sperm, and the immediate placement of the eggs in the fallopian tubes for fertilization.
60. GnRH: Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone
Hormone released from the hypothalamus in the brain that controls the production of the follicle and luteinizing hormones.
61. HCG/hCG: Human Chorionic Gonadotropin
Hormone produced in early pregnancy. This can be detected in the blood and urine, and the presence of hCG produces a positive pregnancy test.
62. HPT: Home Pregnancy Test
An over-the-counter non-professional pregnancy test that you can use at home.
63. HSG: Hysterosalpingogram
An X-ray of the womb and the fallopian tubes.
64. IB: Implantation Bleeding
Spotting or slight bleeding that can occur roughly 10 to 15 days following an embryo implantation.
65. ICI: Intracervical Injection/Intracervical Insemination
Procedure in which sperm is deliberately inserted or injected into the cervix.
66. ICSI: Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection
An IVF method used in cases of severe male infertility that introduces an individual sperm cell to an egg cell.
67. IM: Intramuscular Injection(s)
An injection delivered deep into muscle tissue (typically used in IVF and administered in the buttocks or thighs).
68. ITI: Intra-tubal Insemination
A procedure involving the insertion of pre-washed sperm directly into the fallopian tube.
69. IVF: In Vitro Fertilization
Process in which an egg is fertilized by sperm inside a test tube or by other means outside the body.
70. IVIg: Intravenous Immunoglobulin
A form of therapy that uses a mix of antibodies to treat certain conditions or disorders.
71. LH: Luteinizing Hormone
The hormone triggering ovulation (a surge in LH levels is observed just before ovulation).
72. LMP: Last Menstrual Period
The first day of your last period.
73. LSP: Low Sperm Count
This condition is also known as oligospermia – having fewer than 15 million sperm per milliliter of semen classes as low sperm count.
74. MAI: Miscarriage After Infertility
When a miscarriage happens after going through infertility treatments.
75. MESA: Microsurgical Epididymal Sperm Aspiration
The retrieval and examination of sperm-containing fluid from optimal areas of the epididymis (the narrow coiled tube attached to each of the testicles).
76. NK: Natural Killer Cells
Cells that kill virally infected cells and ones that can detect and control early signs of cancer.
77. NSA: Non-Surgical Sperm Aspiration
Pain-free medical procedure to obtain sperm for use in IVF procedures.
78. OD: Ovum Donor
Another term for an egg donor.
79. OHSS: Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome
When the ovaries have an extreme response to the excess hormones found in the injectable medications used in fertility treatments.
80. PAF: Pregnant After Infertility
Becoming pregnant after struggling with infertility.
81. PGD: Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis
Genetic analysis of a live embryo done in order to detect any abnormality/disease in the chromosomes so that only the healthiest embryos are chosen for implantation.
82. PID: Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
A bacterial infection of the female reproductive organs.
83. PIO: Progesterone in Oil
An injectable self-administered form of progesterone.
84. POAS: Pee On a Stick
Slang for urinating on a home pregnancy test.
85. POF: Premature Ovarian Failure
Also known as primary ovarian insufficiency. When a woman’s ovaries stop working normally before the age of 40.
86. PROM: Premature Rupture of Membranes
The early breaking open of membranes (the amniotic sac) before labor begins.
87. PUPO: Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise
A term used by women and couples to instill a positive mindset in the period following an embryo transfer.
88. RB: Rainbow Baby
Term for a healthy baby born after losing a child or losing a previous pregnancy.
89. RE: Reproductive Endocrinologist
A doctor specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of infertility.
90. RI: Reproductive Immunologist
A specialist who studies how the immune system and the reproductive system interact.
91. RPL: Recurrent Pregnancy Loss
Defined as someone who has experienced two or more miscarriages.
92. SA: Semen Analysis
Also known as a spermiogram – used to measure the quality and quantity of a man’s semen and spermatozoa.
93. S/B or s/b
Stillbirth. The loss of a baby before or during delivery.
94. SHG: Sonohysterogram
A procedure that evaluates uterus health and the shape of the uterine cavity.
95. SI: Secondary Infertility
Refers to the inability to conceive or achieve a full-term pregnancy after giving birth previously.
96. SD: Sperm Donor
The male donor providing the sperm to fertilize an egg.
97. TDI: Therapeutic Donor Insemination
A form of artificial insemination for single women or couples using donor sperm from an anonymous or known donor source in the case of severe male infertility.
98. TET: Tubal Embryo Transfer
Treatment in which embryos are transferred back into the fallopian tubes two days after fertilization.
99. TR: Tubal Reversal
Surgical procedure that reconnects a woman’s fallopian tubes after having the tubes tied (tubal ligation).
100. TTC: Trying to Conceive
Slang term used in the infertility community for couples at the start of their journey.
101. UR: Urologist
Doctor specializing in conditions of the urinary tract and reproductive system.
102. US: Ultrasound
Noninvasive procedure performed throughout stages of the pregnancy that uses high-frequency sound waves to check the baby’s heartbeat and later reveal images of the baby.
103. VR: Vasectomy Reversal
An operation that reconnects the tubes that carry a man’s sperm that were previously sealed or cut during a vasectomy.
104. WBC: White Blood Count
A term you’ll hear if white blood cells are found in a man’s semen during a semen analysis.
105. ZIFT: Zygote Intra-Fallopian Transfer
Procedure in which stimulated eggs are collected using IVF techniques before being mixed with sperm in the lab and transferred to the fallopian tubes via laparoscopic surgery.
We hope this has busted some of the confusing medical jargon you’ve been coming across lately.
If there are any terms out there that are still unfamiliar to you, don’t hesitate to ask fellow cycle buddies and those on fertility support groups/forums (you should be able to decode a lot more posts now!).
Rebecca is a seasoned copywriter and researcher with over a decade of experience, specializing in parenting topics. With a passion for all aspects of raising children, from breastfeeding to potty training.