CRAFT Hospital & Research Centre
Centre for Excellence in Infertility Treatment
IUI, IVF, ICSI, Medical Genetics, Andrology and Sexology,
Laproscopic Surgery & Neonatology

Infertility Dictionary



The packet of enzymes in a normal sperm's head that allows the sperm to dissolve a hole in the outer coating around the egg, thereby allowing the sperm to penetrate and fertilize the egg

Acrosome reaction

A chemical change that enables a sperm to penetrate an egg


The absence of menstruation


Male sex hormones


A specialist who treats sperm problems


The total absence of ovulation


Chemicals made by the body to fight or attack foreign substances entering the body. Normally they prevent infection; however, when they attack the sperm or foetus, they can cause infertility.

Anticardiolipin Antibodies (ACA)

An antibody directed against cardiolipin. These are one of the antiphospholipid groups of antibodies. Approximately 80% of patients who have an antiphospholipid antibody problem will test positive for anticardiolipin antibodies, but the remaining 20% will test positive for one of the other six antiphospholipid antibodies.

Antiphospholipid Antibodies (APA)

The acquired autoantibodies to negatively charged phospholipids found in approximately 15% of patients diagnosed with recurrent pregnancy loss. A positive test indicates that a woman’s blood clots too fast, cutting off support to the foetus. The correlation between the presence of APA and in vitro fertilization success has been a point of controversy over the past several years. In 1999 Joe Massey, MD (RBA), in cooperation with several leading infertility centers in the US and Canada conducted a meta-analysis of studies examining the relationship between the presence of serum antiphospholipid antibodies to IVF success and found no significant association.

Antisperm Antibodies

Antibodies made by either the man or the woman that can attach to sperm and inhibit movement of sperm or fertilization. Antibodies are frequently positive in men who have had vasectomies and vasectomy reversals, or testicular injuries.

Antithyroid Antibodies (ATA)

Antibodies that interfere with thyroid functions, and thus with normal metabolism. They are also indicators for a predisposition of the patient to auto immunity, which may involve additional autoimmune problems that interfere with the reproductive process.

Artificial Insemination

See Intrauterine Insemination

Artificially Stimulated Ejaculation

Controlled electrical stimulation to induce ejaculation in a male suffering from damage to the nerves that control ejaculation

Assisted Hatching

Is the thinning out the zona pellucida (The protective outer membrane surrounding the egg) prior to transferring the embryo into the uterus

Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)

Procedures employed to bring about conception without sexual intercourse, including IUI, IVF, GIFT and ZIFT.


Low sperm motility.


Absence of sperm in the ejaculate. This may be due to an obstruction, or lack of sperm production by the testicle.