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, which is basically a bunch of random acronyms someone created to make things even more confusing.
In many ways, infertility is its own language, and becoming fluent can take a while. As an IVF veteran, I am still in the dark when it comes to some fertility-related phrases and medical terms. Aside from 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 oversharer on Instagram or TikTok, chances are you don’t know your POAS 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, medications, diagnoses, and procedures is essential to understanding your body as well as your medical options so that you can be your own best advocate on your family-building journey.
So study up, young grasshopper. Below is a beginner's guide to infertility acronyms. If you are noticing a glaring omission, please add your suggestions in the comments below!
AF = Aunt Flow (your period)
AH = Assisted Hatching
AMH = Anti-Mullerian Hormone; a hormone level that can be used to predict your ovarian reserve.
AI = Artificial Insemination
ART = Assisted Reproductive Technology (like IUI or IVF)
BBT = Basal Body Temperature
BC / BCP = Birth Control (Pills); this one might seem random, but many women are prescribed birth control pills as a precursor to IVF.
BD = Baby Dance; a polite way of saying “having sex”
Beta = Not really an acronym, but this is the hCG 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; this refers to the specific day of your cycle, with CD1 being the first day of your period.
CM = Cervical Mucus (Ew….)
Cyst = Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs that form on the ovaries.
D&C = Dilation & Curettage; doctors perform this procedure after a miscarriage to remove tissue from the uterus.
DE = Donor Eggs
DEIVF = Donor Egg IVF
DH = Dear Husband
DOR = Diminished Ovarian Reserve
DPO = Days Post-Ovulation
DPT = Days Post-Transfer; for example, 6dp5dt would mean 6 days post-day-5 embryo transfer.
DW = Dear Wife
E2 = Estradiol (or Estrogen); a hormone measured during fertility testing and treatment
Endometriosis / Endo = A disorder in which tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside of the uterus
EPT: Early Pregnancy Test
ER = Egg Retrieval
ET: Embryo Transfer
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
Frostie = Nickname for a frozen embryo
FSH = Follicle-Stimulating Hormone; the hormone responsible for the growth of ovarian follicles.
GP = General Practitioner
HCG = Human Chorionic Gonadotropin Hormone, also known as the “pregnancy hormone”
HPT = Home Pregnancy Test
HSC = Hysteroscopy; a procedure that allows your doctor to look inside your uterus
HSG = Hysterosalpingogram; an X-ray test to outline the internal shape of the uterus and show whether the fallopian tubes are blocked
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
IUI = Intrauterine Insemination
IVF = In Vitro Fertilization
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 occur
LMP = Last Menstrual Period
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)
OB/GYN = Obstetrician / Gynecologist (Doctors who specialize in lady parts and pregnancy)
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OHSS = Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome
OI = Ovulation Induction
OPK = Ovulation Predictor Kit
PCOS = Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
PG = Pregnant!
P4 = Progesterone; the hormone that helps prepare the uterus for pregnancy
PGT = Pre-implantation genetic testing
PGS = Pre-implantation genetic screening
PGD = Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis
PIO = Progesterone in Oil
PNV = Prenatal Vitamins
POAS = Pee on a stick (take an at-home pregnancy test)
POF = Premature ovarian failure
PUPO = Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise (After a fertility treatment like a Frozen Embryo Transfer, a woman is considered PUPO)
RE = Reproductive Endocrinologist; a doctor who specializes in infertility
RPL = Recurrent pregnancy loss
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
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
WFP = Wait for period
WIC = Where in cycle
Phew! Are you dizzy yet? Again, please add any terms or acronyms we left out in the comments section below. And here's to hoping you get your BFP soon!
Kristyn Hodgdon is the Co-Founder and Chief Community Officer at Rescripted.