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Fertility Dictionary

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Pap smear (Papanicolaou smear) - a screening test to evaluate the cells of the cervix to determine whether they are normal

pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) - inflammatory disease of the pelvis, often caused by infection, that can lead to infertility

period - see menstruation

preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) - genetic testing of embryos in IVF to help avoid certain genetic birth defects, such as Cystic Fibrosis, Down Syndrome, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, Hemophilia A, Tay Sachs Disease and Turner Syndrome

pituitary gland - a gland in the endocrine system located at the base of the brain just below the hypothalamus; controls hormonal factories throughout the body, including the gonads, the adrenal glands and the thyroid gland

placenta - the embryonc tissue that implants in the uterine wall and provides a mechanism for exchanging the baby's carbon dioxide and waste products for the mother's nutrients and oxygen

polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) - a condition found in women who don't ovulate, characterized by excessive production of androgens (male sex hormones) and the presence of cysts in the ovaries; symptoms include weight gain, acne, excessive hair growth and infertility

postcoital test (PCT) - microscopic study of samples of vaginal and cervical secretions taken several hours after sexual relations and examined for live, moving sperm

premature ovarian failure (POF) - the cessation of menses associated with high levels of gonadotropins and low levels of estrogen before age 40

primary infertility - infertility in women who have never conceived; sometimes extended to include those who have conceived but not had a live birth

progesterone - a hormone secreted by the corpus luteum of the ovary after ovulation has occurred; also produced by the placenta during pregnancy

prolactin - a hormone produced by the pituitary gland; elevated levels in the blood can indicate disorders that may hinder ovulation

prostate gland - a gland encircling the male urethra that produces some of the fluid in semen, including a chemical that liquefies the coagulated semen twenty minutes to one hour after entering the vagina

pyospermia - the presence of white blood cells in the semen that may indicate inflammation or infection

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recurrent miscarriage - repeated miscarriages

reproductive endocrinologist (RE) - a physician trained in obstetrics and gynecology who further specializes in treating infertility with surgical procedures and assisted reproductive technologies including IUI, ICSI, IVF and more

reproductive immunologist (RI) - a physician who specializes in combining obstetrics and gynecology with immunology to treat reproductive disorders that are related to immune problems

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March of Dimes
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