TTC, IVF, WTF: The Infertility Dictionary

There’s no shortage of things to stress over when you’re going through infertility; but add a bunch of random acronyms into the mix and stuff gets a lot more confusing. This post explores some popular phrases, abbreviations and slang in the fertility lexicon.

Staring down the long road of infertility is massively intimidating for many reasons. First of all, there’s the whole you-have-no-control-over-your-life-and-everything-you-thought-you’d-have-and-would-come-easily-is-nowhere-to-be-found thing. Second of all, there’s basic TTC (Trying to Conceive) vocabulary.

“Infertility” is it’s own language and getting fluent can take a while. I’ve been TTC for 3 years and I still am in the dark with some phrases or medical terms. Aside from there being an intense amount of biological and physiological information that is assumed knowledge by your OBGYN and your RE, there are SO. MANY. ACRONYMS. And unless you’re a compulsive oversharerer on Twitter, Instagram or Tumblr, chances are you don’t know your OPK from your DPO. And that? That’s a problem when trying to decipher the Infertility Code (a much more complicated puzzle to solve than the Da Vinci Code). Understanding the different tests, hormones, dates, and procedures is essential to understanding your body as well as your medical options.

So study up, young grasshopper. Below are the essentials for starting your fertility journey. If you are noticing a glaring omission, please add yours in the comments below.

AF = Aunt Flow (your period)

AMH = Anti-Mullerian Hormone; your AMH is a number reproductive endocrinologists use to assess conditions like PCOS and can also help determine a woman’s remaining egg supply

ART = Artificial Reproductive Technology

AI = Artificial Insemination

BBT = Basal Body Temperature

BC / BCP = Birth Control (Pills); this one might seem random but many women are prescribed birth control pills to quiet their ovaries after completing an egg retrieval

BD = Baby Dance; a polite way of saying “having sex”

Beta = Not really an acronym, but this is the blood test taken after a fertility treatment to determine whether or not a woman is pregnant

BFN = Big Fat Negative; getting a negative pregnancy test…

BFP = Big Fat Positive!!! The holy grail to which all TTC couples aspire…

BPM = Beats Per Minute; referring to an embryo’s heart rate

B/W = Bloodwork

CD = Cycle Day; refers to the specific day of your cycle, with CD1 being the first day of your period

CM = Cervical Mucus (Ew….)

Cyst = A thin-walled, hollow organ or cavity containing a liquid secretion

D & C =  Dilation & Curettage; doctors perform this procedure after a miscarriage or abortion to clear the uterine lining

DE = Donor Eggs

DH = Dear Husband

DOR = Diminished Ovarian Reserve

DPO = Days Post Ovulation

DPT = Days Post Transfer; for example, 6dp5dt would mean 6 days post 5 day embryo transfer

DW = Dear Wife

E2 = Estradiol; a hormone measured during fertility testing and treatment

Endometriosis / Endo = A disorder in which tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside the uterus

ER = Egg Retrieval

FET = Frozen Embryo Transfer

FP = Follicular Phase, from CD1 until you ovulate (occurs before the Luteal Phase)

Fibroid = A noncancerous growth in the uterus that can develop during childbearing years

FRER = First Response Early Result Pregnancy Test

Frostie = Nickname for a frozen embryo

FSH = Follicle-stimulating Hormone; a high FSH number is associated with women undergoing menopause

GP = General Practitioner

HSC = Hysteroscopy; a procedure that allows your doctor to look inside your uterus

HCG = Human Chorionic Gonadotropin Hormone; a hormone produced in your placenta after an embryo implants in the uterus, the presence of hCG is detected in home pregnancy tests

HPT = Home Pregnancy Test

HSG = Hysterosalpingogram; an x-ray of the uterus and fallopian tubes to make sure there are no obstructions or lesions

ICSI = Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection; a procedure during IVF in which eggs are directly injected with an individual sperm to increase the chances of fertilization

IF = Infertility, straight up

IVF = Invitro Fertilization

IUI = Intrauterine Insemination

LAP = Laparoscopy; a surgery using a thin tube put through an incision in the belly to look at the female pelvic organs and find problems such as cysts, adhesions, or fibroids.

LH = Luteinizing Hormone; OPKs measure spikes in your LH to predict when ovulation will soon occur

LP = Luteal Phase; the time between ovulation and menstruation (also called The Two Week Wait)

LSP = Low Sperm Count

MC = Miscarriage

MF(I) = Male Factor (Infertility

O = Ovulation

OB/GYN = Obstetrician / Gynecologist (Doctors who specialize in lady parts and pregnancy)

OPK = Ovulation Predictor Kit; stupid plastic sticks that tell you when you are ovulating

PCOS = Polycystic Ovary Syndrome; a hormonal disorder causing enlarged ovaries with small cysts on the outer edges

PG = Pregnant!

PIO = Progesterone in Oil

PNV = Prenatal Vitamins

POAS = Pee on a stick (take a home pregnancy test)

PUPO = Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise (After a fertility treatment like a Frozen Embryo Transfer, a woman is considered PUPO)

RE = Reproductive Endocrinologist (Doctors who specialize in fertility)

Resolve = National Nonprofit Organization that supports those experiencing infertility

SA = Semen Analysis

SD = Sperm Donor

SI = Secondary Infertility; the inability to become pregnant, or to carry a pregnancy to term, following the birth of one or more biological children

TCOYF = “Taking Charge of Your Fertility,” a book by Toni Weschler on fertility awareness and basically the bible for TTC

TR = Tubal Reversal

TSH = Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone;

TTC = Trying to Conceive

TWW = Two Week Wait (The seemingly endless two weeks between when you ovulate and your missed period)

U/S = Ultrasound

VR = Vasectomy Reversal

WTT = Waiting to Try (to Conceive)

Phew! Ohmigosh, are you dizzy yet? Again, please add any terms or acronyms I left out in the comments section below.

Hmmm…maybe we should turn these into flash cards…

Elyse Ash is the founder and CEO of Fruitful Fertility. It took her and her husband Brad three years, two rounds of IVF and one frozen embryo transfer to see their first positive pregnancy test which brought them their daughter, born in March 2018. Elyse lives in Minneapolis and loves poetry, hockey, social justice, Beyonce and pretending she’s into yoga.

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