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Defining Common Fertility Terms

  • Ovarian reserve testing: Tests that are performed to evaluate a patient’s total egg count. This information is used to estimate the number of eggs that can develop at one time utilizing fertility  drugs. Common ovarian reserve tests performed at CRH include antral follicle count (AFC) and  anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH).  
  • Antral follicle count (AFC): Antral follicles contain eggs in their latest stages of  development, and are visible on transvaginal ultrasound. The AFC is the total number of antral  follicles present in both ovaries.  
  • Anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH): A blood test for a hormone that is produced by antral follicles.  
  • Egg quality: Refers to the likelihood that an individual egg can result in a viable pregnancy. Increasing age results in lower egg quality. This is why the age of the egg is such an important factor in estimating the chances of getting pregnant naturally or with fertility treatment.  
  • Semen analysis (SA): An evaluation to determine the number of moving sperm present in a semen sample.  
  • Hysterosalpingogram (HSG): An X-ray done by fertility doctors or radiologists used to determine if the fallopian tubes are open. At UCSF, this test is done by our Radiology Department.  
  • Saline sonogram (SIS or SAS) and FemVue: A specialized ultrasound to evaluate the shape of  the uterine cavity. This test is done by injecting water through the cervix and into the uterus  during a transvaginal ultrasound. A FemVue is performed similarly to a saline sonogram, but  includes an evaluation of the fallopian tubes as well, to determine if they are open. At UCSF, this  test is done in the office by a fertility doctor.
  • Genetic carrier screening: This is a blood or saliva test used to screen for genetic diseases before pregnancy. This test can assess your risk for having a child with one of several hundred  genetic disorders, such as cystic fibrosis or Tay Sachs. A person can be a “carrier” of a gene for one of these diseases without knowing it. In most cases, the child is only at risk if both the person contributing the egg and the person contributing the sperm are “carriers” for the same disease. 
  • Intrauterine insemination (IUI): Fertility treatment that involves placing a sample of sperm  through the cervix and into the uterus using a thin catheter. In some cases, medications are added  to enable one or more eggs to be ovulated. IUI can be used to treat unexplained infertility, infertility due to low sperm count, or for patients using  donor sperm.  
  • In vitro fertilization (IVF): Fertility treatment that involves using medications to get multiple eggs to  develop at once, followed by a surgical procedure to retrieve the eggs and fertilization of the eggs by sperm in the embryology lab to create embryos. Embryos are then frozen and/or transferred back to the uterus.  
  • Third-party reproduction: Using donor egg, donor sperm or a gestational carrier (surrogate) in order to achieve pregnancy.