What do all the abbreviations stand for?

When it comes to Assisted Reproduction Technology (ART), there are a lot of acronyms and abbreviations that you will come across. This list is not exhaustive, but it covers some of the more frequent acronyms and tries to give a very basic description of each. 

For more detailed information of these terms and procedures, please see Services

SRR: Surgical Sperm Retrieval
Treatment options for sperm collection for men unable to ejaculate sperm, such as after a vasectomy, due to an injury or obstruction preventing release, or when the testes are producing a very low level of sperm, for example. 

PESA: Percutaneous Epididymal Sperm Aspiration
An SSR method; a very fine needle is inserted into the epididymis, which is where sperm is stored after it is produced by the testes. 

TESE: Testicular Sperm Extraction 
An SSR method; an incision is made in the scrotum, and sperm is collected from the testicular tissue via biopsy/sies. 

LMP: Last Menstrual Period
The first day of bleeding in a women’s most recent menstrual cycle. This is important for both ovarian stimulation, as well as embryo transfer. 

COS / OS: Controlled Ovarian Stimulation / Ovarian Stimulation
When a woman undergoes hormone treatment (usually daily injections), in order to stimulate her ovaries to promote the growth of multiple follicles during one cycle. Her period and eventual ovulation (release of eggs into uterus) are all controlled through medication, and monitored through blood tests and trans-vaginal ultrasounds (TVS). 

TVS: Transvaginal Ultrasound


OPU: Ovum Pick-Up
Also known as egg collection or egg retrieval, this is a procedure that is performed under general anesthetic and involves the surgical removal of mature eggs from a woman’s uterus. 

IVF: In-Vitro Fertilization
Egg Fertilization: Probably the most well-known abbreviation, IVF describes the ‘outside body’ fertilization of an egg and sperm. An extracted ovum (egg) and a sperm sample are manually placed in a petri dish in the hope of prompting fertilization into an embryo.

IUI: Intrauterine Insemination
Egg Fertilization: Simply put, this is the injection of a man’s pre-selected sperm directly into the woman’s uterus, placed close to the egg, in the hope the sperm will find and fertilize the ovum (egg).

ICSI: Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection
Egg Fertilization: This procedure is the most common used today, as it involves pre-selected sperm being directly injected into a pre-selected ovum (egg), giving a much higher chance of fertilization occurring in this situation. 

PGD: Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis
The screening of single cells of an embryo, in order to test for single-gene disorders and chromosomal translocations (rearrangements of parts of chromosomes).  

PGS: Preimplantation Genetic Screening
Takes PGD one step further, by testing an embryo for aneuploidy, which identifies missing chromosomes, or additional numbers of chromosomes in an embryo. This is particularly useful to detect chromosomal abnormalities that could lead to Down’s Syndrome. 

CGH: Comparative Genome Hybridisation
Another method of preimplantation screening that looks at copy number variations (CNVs) relative to ploidy level in the DNA of a biopsied embryo, compared to a reference sample, without the need for culturing cells.

NGS: Next-Generation DNA Sequencing 
Commonly referred to as High-Throughput Sequencing, this is the latest and most advanced method of chromosome screening and the detection of chromosomal abnormalities. This method of preimplantation genetic screening tests all 23 pairs of chromosomes. 

ET: Embryo Transfer (usually Fresh)
The transfer of a fresh embryo (i.e., created via either IVF or ICSI, and then has not been frozen after Day 5 or Day 6 of embryo development) into the uterus of a woman, in the hope the embryo will embed in the endometrium (uterus lining) and result in a pregnancy. 

FET: Frozen Embryo Transfer
The transfer of a frozen embryo (after it has been thawed) that was created via either IVF or ICSI, and was then frozen after Day 5 or Day 6 of embryo development, into the uterus of a woman, in the hope the embryo will embed in the endometrium (uterus lining) and result in a pregnancy. FET is usually done when an embryo has been biopsied in order to undergo chromosome screening prior to transfer, and therefore had to be frozen while the biopsy was tested. 

BHCG: Beta Human Chorionic Gonadotropin
Better known as ‘The Pregnancy Hormone’, this hormone is produced by the placenta and indicates whether a woman is currently ‘chemically pregnant’. This hormone is tested via a blood sample taken from the woman ten (10) days after embryo transfer into her uterus. 

ANC: Antenatal Care
The care provided to a pregnant woman, up until she delivers her baby/ies. 

NICU: Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit
The new-born baby version of the well-known Intensive Care Unit, specialized in infant medical complications resulting at or closely after birth. 

NIPT: Non-Invasive Prenantal Testing
A test that is performed on a fetus, by taking a blood sample from a pregnant woman – i.e. testing the baby before it is born. The test is called ‘non-invasive’ because it does not pose any risk whatsoever to mother or baby – it only requires a blood draw from the mother. An NIPT could be performed for a number of reasons, including Aneuploidy, Downs’ Syndrome, Trisomy (triple-marker test), to determine paternity, etc.