· Find a therapist anywhere in the U.S. via the National Register of Health Service Psychologists database.
· Find a therapist anywhere in the U.K. via the UK Council for Psychotherapy.
· Facing childless discrimination in the workplace in the U.S.? Call the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission at 202-663-4900 or find their nearest office here.
· Facing childless discrimination in the workplace in the U.K.? Contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission here.
· The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline in the U.S. is available at 800-662-4357.
· The SupportLine in the U.K. offering emotional support to any individual on any issue is available at 01708 765200.
· If you or someone you know has been struggling emotionally and contemplating suicide, help is available 24/7 through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 800-273-8255, or here.
Chasing Creation blog by Katy Seppi for women designing an unexpectedly childfree life.
MRKH Connect is to relieve and promote the relief of those diagnosed with Mayer Rokitansky Kuster Hauser (MRKH) Syndrome and to provide support both to them and their families.
NonParents.com blog by Nina Steel created after she and her husband tried and failed to conceive for 9 years. A global community for people who either through personal circumstances or by choice, do not have children.
Not So Mommy blog by Brandi Lytle. By embracing infertility and redefining what momhood means, her hope is to inspire others to be their authentic selves and live this imperfectly perfect life.
Perinatal Loss & Involuntary Childlessness Alliance (PLICA) founded by Sasha Reid. A community for women who have experienced perinatal loss.
World Childless Week founded by Stephanie Phillips, raises awareness of involuntary childlessness every September.
The ability to understand one's condition and treatment is key to effectively coping with infertility. There are numerous words and acronyms used in our field that may be unfamiliar or confusing.
This glossary is designed to explain commonly used infertility terms in a simple and straightforward way.
We will add to this list as needed. If there are any suggestions, omissions, or corrections, please contact us.
Adenomyosis: A condition that occurs when the tissue that normally lines the uterus (endometrial tissue) grows into the muscular wall of the uterus. The displaced tissue continues to act normally — thickening, breaking down and bleeding — during each menstrual cycle.
Adverse outcome: A pregnancy that does not result in a live birth, including miscarriage, induced terminations, and stillbirths.
Amenorrhea: Refers to a woman who has never had a period.
Amenorrhea, Secondary: A term describing a woman who has menstruated at one time, but who has not had a period for six months or more.
Anemic: A condition in which you lack enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to your body's tissues.
Bacterial Vaginosis Infection: A vaginal infection that causes a burning sensation and a gray, malodorous discharge. May interfere with fertility.
BCP: see Birth Control Pills
Birth control pills: A daily medication that contains 2 hormones (estrogen and
progestin) to prevent pregnancy — or manage and suppress heavy periods.
CBC or CFBC: see Childfree by Choice/Childless By Choice.
Childless By Choice or Childfree By Choice: A fertile person who has chosen not to have children, for personal reason.
Childless By Circumstance: Someone who does not necessarily have fertility issues, for a range of other reasons, were not able to conceive during their fertile years.
Childless Not By Choice: Someone unable to get pregnant or sustain a pregnancy.
CNBC: see Childless Not By Choice
Dilated therapy: Vaginal dilators specially designed plastic tubes which are used to create a vagina. Most women who are born without a vagina or an incomplete vagina, are taught how to use vaginal dilators to create a vagina.
Early Menopause (or premature menopause): A loss of normal function of the ovaries before age 40. In early menopause, the ovaries don't produce normal amounts of the hormone estrogen or release eggs regularly.
ENDO: An shorted word for Endometriosis
Endometriosis: A medical condition that involves the presence of tissue similar to the uterine lining in abnormal locations. This condition can affect both fertilization of the egg and embryo implantation.
Endo belly: A term used to describe the uncomfortable, often painful, swelling and bloating that's associated with endometriosis.
Endo pain (or endometriosis pain): Chronic painful period cramps, however pain may not be limited to the area around your uterus. In addition to sharp abdominal pain, some may experience back pain, rectal pain, painful bowel movements, leg pain, pain during intercourse.
Fallopian tubes: One of two long, slender tubes that connect the ovaries to the uterus. Eggs pass from the ovaries, through the fallopian tubes, to the uterus. In the female reproductive tract, there is one ovary and one fallopian tube on each side of the uterus.
Fibroid (myoma): Benign growth in the uterine wall. Only fibroids approaching or encroaching upon the uterine cavity may need to be removed, as they may prevent implantation of an embryo.
Follicles (or ovarian follicles): Small sacs filled with fluid that are found inside a woman's ovaries. They secrete hormones which influence stages of the menstrual cycle and women begin puberty with about 300,000 to 400,000 of them. Each has the potential to release an egg for fertilization.
Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH) Levels: FSH helps control the menstrual cycle and stimulates the growth of eggs in the ovaries. FSH levels in women change throughout the menstrual cycle, with the highest levels happening just before an egg is released by the ovary. This is known as ovulation.
HSG (hysterosalpingogram): A test that uses x-rays and a special dye to detect scar tissue, polyps, fibroids, and other growths that may be blocking your tubes or preventing a fertilized egg from implanting properly in your uterus.
Hormonal Intrauterine Device (IUD): A long-term contraception T-shaped plastic frame device that's inserted into the uterus, where it releases a type of the hormone progestin.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT): A medication that contains female hormones.
Hysterosalpingogram (HSG): An x-ray of the pelvic organs in which a radio-opaque dye is injected through the cervix into the uterus and fallopian tubes. This test checks for malformations of the uterus and blockage of the Fallopian tubes.
Hysterectomy: The removal of the uterus.
Intrauterine insemination (IUI): A technique in which sperm are introduced directly into a woman’s cervix or uterus to produce pregnancy, with or without ovarian stimulation to produce multiple ova.
Infertility: The inability to get pregnant (conceive) after one year (or longer) of unprotected sexual intercourse. This term also applies to a female who can get pregnant but has experienced miscarriages or stillbirths.
Involuntarily childless: Someone who wants children or is open to children but can’t have them or unable to have children due to various circumstances.
IVF (or In vitro fertilization): In vitro which means outside the body, is a process of fertilization by extracting eggs, retrieving a sperm sample, and then manually combining an egg and sperm in a laboratory dish. The embryo(s) is then transferred to the uterus.
Male factor (or male infertility): Low sperm production, abnormal sperm function or blockages that prevent the delivery of sperm.
Menorrhagia: Heavy or prolonged menstrual flow.
Menstruation: The cyclical shedding of the uterine lining in response to stimulation from estrogen and progesterone.
Medical menopause: Medical or induced menopause is when a woman stops producing eggs and her menstrual cycle ceases prematurely due to certain medical treatments. Unlike with natural menopause, which can take years, this process either occurs over a short period of transition time or abruptly.
Menopause: The time in a female's life when her period stops. It usually occurs naturally, most often after age 45. Menopause happens because the woman's ovaries stop producing the hormones estrogen and progesterone. A woman has reached menopause when she has not had a period for one year.
Miscarriage (MC): The spontaneous loss of a pregnancy before the 20th week.
Misshapen uterus: A malformation of the uterus that females are born with, meaning it develops during embryonic life. In technical terms: the Mullerian ducts, which are the initial development of the fallopian tubes, uterus, the uterine cervix, and the superior aspect of the vagina, fail to form a normal uterine cavity.
MRKH (or Mayer Rokitansky Küster Hauser syndrome): A a rare congenital disorder and abnormality of the female reproductive system. Females with MRKH are born with normal ovaries and fallopian tubes, an absent or incomplete vagina, no cervix, and either an underdeveloped uterus (uterine remnant) or no uterus at all, although external genitalia are normal. Affected females usually do not have menstrual periods due to the absent uterus. Often, the first noticeable sign of MRKH syndrome is that menstruation does not begin by age 16 (primary amenorrhea).
Myomectomy: A reproductive surgery to remove uterine fibroids. These common noncancerous growths appear in the uterus. Uterine fibroids usually develop during childbearing years, but they can occur at any age.
Ovarian Cyst: A fluid-filled sac inside the ovary. An ovarian cyst may be found in conjunction with ovulation disorders, tumors of the ovary, and endometriosis.
Ovulation: This occurs when an egg is released from your ovary. When the egg is released, it may or may not be fertilized by sperm.
Ovulation predictor kits: At-home tests to determine when a female is ovulating.
Partial hysterectomy: The removal the uterus including, in some cases, the cervix.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID): Inflammation of the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries due to infection; a cause of infertility in some women.
Perimenopause (or menopause transition): This transition begins several years before menopause, as the ovaries gradually begin to make less estrogen. Perimenopause lasts up until menopause, the point when the ovaries stop releasing eggs. Scar tissue: Fibrous tissue that forms when normal tissue is destroyed by disease, injury, or surgery.
Pituitary gland tumor: Abnormal growths that develop in your pituitary gland. Some pituitary tumors result in too much of the hormones that regulate important functions of your body. Some pituitary tumors can cause your pituitary gland to produce lower levels of hormones.
Polycystic Ovaries (PCO or "Stein-Leventhal Syndrome"): 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. Though PCO can be without symptoms, some include excessive weight gain, acne and excessive hair growth.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): A common hormonal condition in which an imbalance in the sex hormones may cause menstrual abnormalities, skin and hair changes, obesity, infertility and other long-term health problems. The name comes from the multiple small cysts which line the ovaries of most women with the disorder.
Postmenopause: This term describes the time from after your last menstrual period to the end.
Premature baby/birth: A premature birth is a birth that takes place more than three weeks before the baby's estimated due date.
Primary ovarian insufficiency (POI): Also known as premature ovarian failure or early menopause, happens when a woman's ovaries stop working normally before she is 40.
Premenopause: This is the stage where your periods are still regular but the first symptoms such as night sweats and mood swings may occur. However, sometimes it is used to mean the years of your life when your periods are regular and you are fertile.
Salpingectomy: Surgical removal of the fallopian tubes.
Thyroid disorder (hypothyroidism or under-active thyroid): A condition in which a thyroid gland does not produce enough of certain crucial hormones.
Total hysterectomy: The removal the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes.
TTC: Stands for “Trying To Conceive.”
Unexplained infertility (or Idiopathic infertility): A diagnostic category used when no cause of infertility is found in either the woman or the man.
Uterine Fibroids: Abnormal benign growth in the uterine wall.
Voluntarily childless: Personal choice, that is, having the physical, mental, and financial capability to have children but choosing not to.
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