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Glossary ELast Updated: May 17, 2004
Ectopic Pregnancy -- A pregnancy located outside of the uterus, usually in a fallopian tube. Such a pregnancy can rarely be sustained, and often leads to decreased or complete loss of function in the affected tube. Treatment is usually laparoscopic removal of the embryo or use of the chemotherapy drug Methotrexate that attacks fast growing cells and may dissolve the pregnancy without causing major damage to the tube.
EDD -- See Estimated Due Date.
Egg (Oocyte) -- The female reproductive cell.
Egg Donation -- The act of donating eggs to someone else for use in attempting pregnancy through in vitro fertilization.
Egg Donor -- A women who contracts to donate eggs to an infertile couple for in vitro fertilization.
Egg Retrieval -- A procedure used to obtain eggs from ovarian follicles for use in several ARTs including in vitro fertilization, GIFT, and ZIFT. The procedure may be performed during laparoscopy or by using a long needle and ultrasound to locate the follicle in the ovary.
Electroejaculation -- A controlled electric stimulation to induce ejaculation in a man with damage to the nerves that control ejaculation.
Embryologist -- A scientist who specializes is embryo development.
Embryo Toxic Factor (ETF) -- An immune response against a woman may have against her own fetus in a pregnancy that may result in the loss of the pregnancy. Treatment is high doses of progesterone until the 16th week of pregnancy.
Embryo Toxicity Assay (ETA) -- A combination of two procedures. The first involves maternal cell (lymphocyte) culture which is aimed at stimulating the lymphocytes using components of the human embryo (trophoblast) cell line, and the second is an embryo culture. These procedures are used to measure if the patient's lymphocytes secrete anything that be toxic to the embryo (test utilizes two-cell stage mouse embryos). Women who have been sensitized in the course of their earlier pregnancies or in any other mode, could amass an immune response against their own fetus in the following pregnancy, and end up losing it (in the implantation process or later in the first trimester).
Embryo Transfer (ET) -- Placing an egg fertilized outside the womb into a woman's uterus or fallopian tube.
Empty Sella Syndrome -- A condition that occurs when spinal fluid leaks into the bony chamber (fossa) housing the pituitary gland. The fluid pressure compresses the pituitary gland and may adversely affect its ability to secrete LH and FSH and may elevate prolactin levels.
Endocrine Gland -- An organ that produces hormones.
Endocrine System -- System of glands including the hypothalamus, pituitary, thyroid, adrenals and testicles or ovaries.
Endometrial Biopsy (EB, Ebx, EMB)-- A test to check for Luteal Phase Defect or Hyperplasia. A procedure during which a sample of the uterine lining is collected for microscopic analysis. The biopsy results will confirm ovulation and the proper preparation of the endometrium by estrogen and progesterone stimulation.
Endometriosis -- Growth of endometrial tissue outside the uterus. The tissue may attach itself to the reproductive organs or to other organs in the abdominal cavity. Each month the endometrial tissue inbreeds with the onset of menses. The resultant irritation causes adhesions in the abdominal cavity and in the fallopian tubes. Endometriosis may also interfere with ovulation and with the implantation of the embryo.
Endometritis -- An inflammation of the endometrium.
Endorphins -- Natural narcotics manufactured in the brain to reduce sensitivity to pain and stress. May contribute to stress-related fertility problems.
Epididymis -- A coiled, tubular organ attached to and lying on the testicle. Within this organ the developing sperm complete their maturation and develop their powerful swimming capabilities. The matured sperm leave the epididymis through the vas deferens.
Epididymitis -- An inflamation of the epididymis.
Estradiol (E2) -- The principal estrogen produced by the ovary. Responsible for formation of the female secondary sex characteristics such as large breasts; supports the growth of the follicle and the development of the uterine lining. At midcycle the peak estrogen level triggers the release of the LH spike from the pituitary gland. The LH spike is necessary for the release of the ovum from the follicle. Fat cells in both obese men and women can also manufacture estrogen from androgens and interfere with fertility. The blood test to monitor estradiol is E2 -- Rapid Assay. Women on injectable fertility drugs have routine E2 monitoring.
Estrogens -- The female sex hormones. First recognized around 1915, estrogen is responsible for the development of the secondary feminine sex characteristics, which include breasts, rounded hips, and pubic hair. Together with progesterone, another female hormone made by the ovaries, estrogen regulates the changes that occur with each monthly period and prepares the uterus for pregnancy. See Estradiol.
Estimated Due Date (EDD) -- An approximate date for when a baby is due to be born. It is generally calculated based on LMP, when LMP is two weeks before ovulation. To figure the due date, take your LMP and add 9 months plus one week. To figure EDD based on ovulation, add 9 months and subtract one week. When using ARTs, one would consider the day of insemination to be ovulation, and the day of egg retrieval to be ovulation.
ET -- See Embryo Transfer.
ETF -- See Embryo Toxic Factor.
ETA -- See Embryo Toxicity Assay.
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