American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM)

The multidisciplinary organization that serves as an advocate for patient care, research and education in reproductive medicine. The ASRM also produces guidelines, minimum standards, committee opinions, and technical and educational bulletins.

Beta hCG

A quantitative blood test that measures the amount of the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin produced by the cells of the implanting embryo which is detected in maternal plasma or urine by 8 to 9 days after ovulation. In general, an hCG level of less than 5mIU/ml is considered negative for pregnancy, and anything above 25mIU/ml is considered positive for pregnancy.

Chemical Pregnancy

The beginning of a pregnancy resulting from in-vitro fertilization detected by hCG levels prior to confirmation of the pregnancy by heartbeat ultrasound.

Cycle

Cycle refers to the Gestational Carrier’s menstrual cycle, a recurring cycle in which the endometrial lining of the uterus prepares for pregnancy. If pregnancy does not occur, the lining is shed at menstruation.

Once a suitable Gestational Carrier has been chosen and the both the screening process and legal contracts are complete, the Gestational Carrier’s cycle can be initiated. The time of initiating the cycle depends on the menstrual cycle of the surrogate and hormonal manipulations.

Dilation and Curettage (D&C)

A widening of the cervical canal to remove products of an incomplete abortion or of the embryo that has died at an early stage after IVF and embryo transfer. A D&C procedure may also be performed following the birth of a Child to remove placental material.

DNA

Deoxyribonucleic acid, which is a molecule that carries human genetic information.

Dropped Cycle

A dropped cycle is when a Gestational Carrier is taking all prescribed medications with the intent of transferring an embryo to her uterus at the end of the med-cycle, but the transfer is cancelled. A cancellation can be ordered due to many factors, including: the egg donor or the intended mother’s response to medicines not resulting in an egg to transfer, a mistake following protocol by any of the parties, a thin uterine lining,  the quality of the eggs retrieved or losing eggs during the thawing process. If a cycle is dropped, the IVF doctor will provide consultation, make changes to the medical plan and determine if it is appropriate to try again in the next month.

Embryo

A fertilized egg from initial cell division through the first six to eight weeks of gestation. In this case, the embryos belonging to the Intended Parents are frozen and were created from a previous IVF cycle.

Embryo Transfer

Placing one or more embryos into the uterus of the Gestational Carrier.

Fetal DNA Blood Test

A noninvasive test that analyzes circulating cell-free DNA extracted from a maternal blood sample. The test detects an increased amount of chromosomal 21, 18, and 13 material in maternal blood and can be performed as early as 10 weeks gestation.

Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET)

The thawing of cryopreserved embryos and the placing of the embryos into the uterus of the Gestational Carrier.

Genetic or Congenital Abnormality

Disabilities or diseases which are either present at birth or show themselves soon after and/or are genetic in origin.

Gestational Carrier or Surrogate

A woman, who will use her body as the host for the embryo(s)/fetus(es) belonging to Intended Parents.

Intended Parent

The person(s) who will parent the child born out of surrogacy.

In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

The fertilization of oocytes outside the womb in a small glass dish.

Mock Cycle

A mock cycle is when a doctor puts a Gestational Carrier on partial or full medicines prior to pregnancy and monitor her, as if she was planning to transfer an embryo to her uterus, but with the understanding that the doctor will not transfer an embryo. This can be ordered for a number of reasons, the most common being the doctor’s desire to observe how the surrogate’s body responds to a certain medication.

A mock cycle allows the doctor to ensure that the Gestational Carrier’s body, most specifically the endometrium lining, is capable of reaching levels that will support pregnancy and make implantation likely without the cost of preparing an egg that could potentially be lost due to unfavorable conditions. At the conclusion of the mock cycle, medicines or dosages may be changed or fine-tuned to create optimum results during the real cycle.

Pre-implantation Genetic Screen (PGS)

A process used to screen embryos created through in vitro fertilization (IVF) to make sure the embryos have all 23 pairs of chromosomes (aneuploidy screening) and to look for any structural abnormalities in the chromosomes (translocations) before the embryos are transferred to the uterus.

Selective Reduction

A technique that reduces the number of fetuses in an effort to increase the likelihood that a pregnancy will continue. The procedure is usually performed between the ninth and 12thweeks of gestation and is done on an outpatient basis by inserting a needle guided by ultrasound either through the abdomen or vagina to inject potassium chloride into the fetus. The incidence of miscarriage associated with this procedure is 4 to 5 percent. Premature labor occurs in about 75 percent of pregnancies where there has been a multi fetal reduction procedure.

Ultra-Screen

A first trimester prenatal screen that is a combination of a maternal blood test and an ultrasound measurement that identifies fetuses at increased risk of Down syndrome and Trisomy 18. The ultrasound is performed by a physician or ultrasound technician certified in the procedure.

Ultrasound

A test to visualize the reproductive organs, embryo(s), or fetus(es) by using sound waves that bounce off the organs producing a picture displayed on a screen.