To say that undergoing fertility treatment is overwhelming would be an understatement. But what I found especially challenging when I first ventured into the world of IVF was the sheer number of acronyms and treatment-specific terminology.
At times, it seemed like a different language - and deciphering what everything meant felt like just one more hurdle I had to overcome on an already challenging journey.
But having now completed my first round of IVF, I have a much better handle on all the fertility treatment verbiage, so I’m sharing what I’ve learned to help you get up to speed on the ABCs of IVF.
2WW: Two-Week Wait
The period between your embryo transfer and when you can take your first pregnancy test or BETA.
AH: Assisted Hatching
A procedure that helps to improve your chances of conception when performed with IVF.
ART: Assisted Reproductive Technology
Medical processes used to treat infertility in both eggs and sperm.
BCP: Birth Control Pills
Often included as part of a fertility treatment protocol.
A blood pregnancy test (taken after the two-week wait) that measures the human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone in the blood.
BFN: Big Fat Negative
Negative result on a pregnancy test.
BFP: Big Fat Positive
Positive result on a pregnancy test.
Short for blastocysts, a blast is a ball of cells that forms early in a pregnancy, about five to six days after a sperm fertilizes an egg.
CP: Chemical Pregnancy
An early miscarriage that happens within the first five weeks of pregnancy.
DOR: Decreased Ovarian Reserves
Occurs when a woman's ovaries lose their normal reproductive potential, which can lead to infertility.
DPO: Days Past Ovulation
Refers to the number of days since ovulation occurred.
DPR: Days Past Retrieval
Refers to the number of days since an egg retrieval occurred.
DPT: Days Past Transfer
Refers to the number of days since an embryo was transferred. During the two-week wait, it’s often written as 5DP5DT (e.g. 5 days past 5-day transfer).
ER: Egg Retrieval
A surgical procedure to remove eggs for fertilization or freezing.
FET: Frozen Embryo Transfer
The process of implanting a frozen embryo into a uterus.
FFI: Female Factor Infertility
Describes couples who are unable to conceive due to problems identified in the female partner (e.g. PCOS, endometriosis, etc.).
The process of implanting a fresh, unfrozen embryo into a uterus.
FRER Test: First Response Early Results Test
The preferred type of pregnancy test within the fertility community which can detect hCG (pregnancy hormone) earlier than other tests.
FSH: Follicle-Stimulating Hormone
A hormone given prior to egg retrieval to help stimulate egg production in the ovaries
HcG: Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG)
A hormone produced by the placenta during pregnancy. It's sometimes called the pregnancy hormone.
HPT: Home Pregnancy Tests
Over-the-counter pregnancy tests that can be taken at home.
Slang used in the fertility community about the number of eggs/embryos you lose as you progress through the IVF process. It’s a reference to a popular book and movie franchise of the same name that involves players fighting to the death. For example, you may have 12 eggs retrieved, but only 10 mature. Of those, only 7 may successfully fertilize, and only 5 may make it to the day-5 blastocyst stage. This number can dwindle down even further when you include grading and testing.
ICSI: Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection
A technique for in vitro fertilization where an individual sperm cell is introduced into an egg cell.
IUI: Intrauterine Insemination
A treatment that involves placing sperm into a woman’s uterus to help facilitate fertilization.
IVF: In Vitro Fertilization
A procedure where an egg is fertilized by sperm in a test tube or elsewhere outside the body.
A minimally invasive surgery that diagnoses and treats causes of infertility, also used to remove scar tissue or endometriosis in the uterus.
The spontaneous loss of a pregnancy before the 20th week.
MFI: Male Factor Infertility
Describes couples who are unable to conceive due to problems identified in the male partner (e.g. low sperm count, poor sperm motility or sperm morphology).
OHSS: Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome
A negative response to excess hormones that occur in women taking injectable hormone medications to stimulate the development of eggs in the ovaries.
OPK/OPT: Ovulation Predictor Kit/Ovulation Prediction Test
At-home ovulation tests that help determine the time in the menstrual cycle when getting pregnant is most likely.
PGD: Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis
Genetic testing of a live embryo to determine if there are any abnormalities or genetic diseases in chromosomes.
PGS/PGT-A: Preimplantation Genetic Screening
Genetic testing of a live embryo to assess the number of chromosomes present. If more or less than 46 chromosomes are present (2 pairs of 23), the embryo is aneuploid, meaning it has too many or too few chromosomes in the embryo.
PI: Primary Infertility
A term used to describe a couple that has never been able to conceive a pregnancy after a minimum of 1 year of having unprotected sex.
PIO: Progesterone In Oil
Intramuscular (IM) injection used as part of fertility treatment to help thicken the uterine lining to protect the embryo and secure its healthy growth and development.
The specific, personalized medical treatment plan that you will undertake as part of your IVF process.
PUPO: Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise
Positive mindset women and couples choose to adopt during the two-week waiting period after undergoing an embryo transfer.
RE: Reproductive Endocrinologist
A doctor who has specialized training in the diagnosis and treatment of infertility.
SI: Secondary Infertility
The inability to conceive or carry a baby to term after previously giving birth.
Slang for ovarian stimulation and the related fertility treatment phase lasting 8 to 14 days that involves the injection of medication to induce the ovaries to produce as many eggs as possible.
Also known as the endometrial lining, it’s where a developing embryo implants during pregnancy.
A line pattern on an ultrasound that suggests a uterine lining has developed appropriately in response to increasing estrogen levels during the IVF cycle.
Beyond the language of fertility treatment
Obviously, there’s more to fertility treatment than decoding a bunch of acronyms. If you’re looking for complementary care during your fertility treatment. Hera Fertility can help.
Whether it’s financial guidance or support regarding your care, our team of fertility experts can help guide you through every step of your fertility journey. Sign up now to learn more.