TTC/IF/IVF Abbreviations & Definitions

I try to explain the specialized TTC and IF abbreviations as I use them, but in case you’re ever confused, here’s a list of the most commonly used abbreviations and what they mean. IVF specific (specific to me, anyway) terms are in red. Note: This is not a complete list. These are the ones used most commonly in trying to conceive and infertility forums and blogs, as well as in my own blog. If you notice any mistakes or happen to disagree with a definition, please leave a comment.

2ww | Two Week Wait  Waiting to take a pregnancy test; the average length of the Luteal Phase [from ovulation to menstruation] is 14 days (or 2 weeks).

AF | Aunt Flow   Menstruation, period.

Assisted hatching  Assisted hatching is a laboratory procedure whereby the zona of the early embryo is mechanically or chemically weakened in a way that assists the embryo to “hatch” from the zona more easily allowing implantation into the lining of the uterus.

BBT | Basal Body Temperature   Temperature upon waking (before getting out of bed). Useful for determining when ovulation has occurred. Not useful in timing intercourse for pregnancy or to avoid pregnancy. Not useful for determining whether or not you are pregnant.

BD | Baby Dance   Sex. (By the way, I hate this term.)

Beta | Beta hCG  Blood pregnancy test that measures a beta chain portion of the human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone emitted by the developing embryo.

BFN or BFP | Big Fat (Fucking) Negative or Positive   Pregnancy test result.

CD | Cycle Day   Cycle days are numbered starting on the first day of your period.

CM | Cervical Mucus   Fluid excreted by the cervix, stimulated by estrogen. Becomes more fertile and receptive to sperm just before ovulation. Paying attention to the changes in CM can help a woman conceive. Not useful in determining whether pregnancy has occurred.

CP | Cervical Position  Changes throughout the cycle, in a predictable pattern. Not useful in determining if pregnancy has occurred.

DH | Dear/Darling Husband   Sometimes used sarcastically. Also common are Dear Partner (DP) and Dear Fiance (DF).

Dildo-cam | Trans-vaginal ultrasound wand  Creatively named for the shape of the wand and the probing gestures used when undergoing a trans-vaginal ultrasound (see below).

DPO/DP#DT | Days Past Ovulation/Transfer   Days are numbered starting with the day after ovulation (1 DPO), or after the date of embryo transfer. Example: 7DP5DT = 7 days past 5 day transfer, meaning the number of days that have elapsed since a day-5 embryo transfer (in other words, 12 days past egg retrieval).

EC or ER | Egg Collection or Egg Retrieval    (aka Transvaginal oocyte retrieval (TVOR), or oocyte retrieval (OCR)) Removal of mature eggs from the ovaries using a needle and guided by ultrasound.

EDD | Estimated Due Date   When a baby is expected to be born. Based on last menstrual period (LMP) or date of ovulation.

ENDO | Endometriosis   Health condition in which tissue that is normally inside the uterus grows in other places, such as on the fallopian tubes and ovaries, or even on the bladder, intestines, or lungs. This can cause bleeding, scarring, pelvic pain, and infertility.

ET | Embryo Transfer    Final step in the IVF process. Embryo(s) are transferred into the uterus using a flexible catheter.

EWCM | Egg-White Cervical Mucus   The most fertile type of CM. Having sex when you have EWCM is one way to increase the chance of conception.

hCG | Human Chorionic Gonadotropin   Pregnancy hormone detected by at-home pregnancy tests. Also used to trigger ovulation, as it forces mature follicles to erupt.

HPT | Home Pregnancy Test   The stick you pee on. (Note: Stay far, far away from any blue dye test, including the popular plus-sign variety. They are known for showing faint, positive-like results, when you are not pregnant. Trust me.)

HSC | Hysteroscopy   Procedure in which the doctor visually inspects the inside of the uterus via a tiny light and camera.

HSG | Hysterosalpingogram   Totally fun diagnostic procedure in which a catheter is inserted through the cervix and into the uterus, and dye is injected into the fallopian tubes. All the while, your pelvis is under an x-ray machine, in order to see whether or not the dye goes where it’s supposed to go. Used to determine whether or not the fallopian tubes are blocked.

ICSI | Intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection  Involves injecting a single sperm directly into an egg in order to fertilize it. ICSI is often recommended when the male partner has low sperm count; there are other sperm issues, such as poor morphology or poor motility; previous IVF attempts failed or resulted in low fertilization rates; or when the doctor has reason to believe fertilization may be an issue, even without having tried IVF previously. ICSI is not a guarantee that fertilization will take place.

IF | Infertility   The inability to conceive after having sex for 12 months (for women under the age of 30) or 6 months (for women over 30) with no contraception.

IM | Intramuscular injection  Given directly into a muscle. (See also Sub-Q.)

IUI | Intrauterine Insemination   Procedure whereby washed sperm are placed directly into the uterus via a catheter. Can be done following ovulation stimulation, or during a natural cycle. IUI is used when a couple has unexplained infertility, low sperm count, decreased sperm mobility, as a requirement of donor sperm, when a woman has a hostile cervical condition (such as cervical mucus that is too thick), a woman has cervical scar tissue from past procedures or endometriosis, or when the male partner has ejaculation dysfunction.

IVF | In Vitro Fertilization  Complicated process whereby an egg is fertilized outside of the womb, then transferred directly into the uterus. There are many different protocols that might be used with IVF, ranging from “natural” IVF, in which NO medications are used, to protocols in which every part of the process is controlled with medications. The specific protocol used will depend on the patient’s needs and the policies of the clinic.

LAP | Laparascopy   Surgery that uses a thin, lighted tube put through an incision in the belly to look at the abdominal organs or the female pelvic organs. Laparascopy is used to find problems such as cysts, adhesions, and fibroids. Tissue samples can be taken for biopsy through the tube (laparoscope).

LH | Luteinizing Hormone   When this hormone surges, it triggers ovulation (under normal circumstances). The surge is detected by ovulation prediction kits (OPKs) to determine if ovulation is imminent.

LP | Luteal Phase   The time between ovulation and menstruation (on average, 14 days, but varies from woman to woman).

O or OV | Ovulation   Release of a mature follicle by the ovary(ies).

OB or OB-GYN | Obstetrician-Gynecologist   Trained physicians who diagnose and treat female reproductive health issues, and care for women during pregnancy, childbirth and during post-birth recovery.

OPK | Ovulation Predictor Kit   Detects LH surge, which typically means ovulation will occur in 12-36 hours.

PG | Pregnancy, pregnant   Does this one really need further explanation?

PIO | Progesterone in Oil   One of the many injections an infertile can look forward to. Typically administered during IVF cycles, but can also be prescribed to anyone needing extra progesterone support during early pregnancy.

PNV | Prenatal Vitamin   A necessity for all women of childbearing years, whether planning a pregnancy or not.

Prog | Progesterone  AKA “the pregnancy hormone.” Progesterone prepares the uterus for pregnancy. After ovulation occurs, the ovaries start to produce progesterone needed by the uterus. Progesterone causes the uterine lining or endometrium to thicken. This helps prepare a supportive environment in your uterus for a fertilized egg. A supply of progesterone to the endometrium continues to be important during pregnancy. Following a successful implantation, progesterone helps maintain a supportive environment for the developing fetus. After 8 to 10 weeks of pregnancy, the placenta takes over progesterone production from the ovaries and substantially increases progesterone production. Some women may need to take progesterone supplements in the form of PIO (see above) or a vaginal suppository.

RE | Reproductive Endocronolgist   Doctor who specializes in fertility issues.

SA | Semen Analysis    Measurement of the amount of semen a man produces and the number and quality of sperm in the semen sample.

SHG | Sonohysterography   Imaging the uterus and uterine cavity using ultrasonography while sterile saline is instilled into the uterine cavity. The purpose of sonohysterography is to detect abnormalities of the uterus and endometrial (uterine lining) cavity.

Stims | Stimulation medications  Medications that stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple follicles for IVF. Examples include injections such as Follistim, Gonal-F, Bravelle, and Fertinex. Usually does not refer to oral medications, like Clomid and Femara, even though they are also ovulation stimulation medications. (Even though this one is in red, stims are not only used during IVF cycles.)

Sub-Q | Subcutaneous injection  Given just under the skin with a very small needle. (See also IM.)

TTC | Trying To Conceive   Typically refers to those actively trying to get pregnant; also applies to anyone who has sex without using contraception.

u/s | ultrasound   Use of high-frequency soundwaves to look at the internal organs. In the TTC universe, the most common type is the transvaginal or t/v ultrasound, whereby a probe is inserted into the vagina in order to get a better look at the uterus and ovaries.

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