Glossary of Fertility Evaluation Terms

The following Services and tests are available to our patients:

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Semen Analysis


Endometriosis is a problem many women have during their childbearing years and is a condition in which endometrial tissue grows in areas other than the uterus. This does not always cause symptoms and is usually not dangerous. However, it can cause pain and other problems.

Your uterus is lined with a type of tissue called endometrium. It is like a soft nest where a fertilized egg can grow. Each month, your body releases hormones that cause the endometrium to thicken and get ready for an egg. If you get pregnant, the fertilized egg attaches to the endometrium and starts to grow. If you do not get pregnant, the endometrium breaks down, and your body sheds it as blood. This is your menstrual period.

When you have endometriosis, the implants of tissue outside your uterus act just like the tissue lining your uterus. During your menstrual cycle, they get thicker, then break down and bleed. But the implants are outside your uterus, so the blood cannot flow out of your body. The implants can get irritated and painful and sometimes can form scar tissue or fluid-filled sacs (cysts). Scar tissue may make it difficult to get pregnant.

The most common symptoms are:

  • Pain. Where it hurts depends on where the implants are growing. You may have pain in your lower belly, your rectum or vagina, or your lower back. You may have pain only before and during your periods or all the time. Some women have more pain during sex, when they have a bowel movement, or when their ovaries release an egg (ovulation).
  • Abnormal bleeding. Some women have heavy periods, spotting or bleeding between periods, bleeding after sex, or blood in their urine or stool.
  • Trouble getting pregnant (infertility). This is the only symptom some women have.

Endometriosis varies from woman to woman. Some women do not know that they have it until they go to see a doctor because they are having difficulties achieving a pregnancy.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Polycystic ovary syndrome is a problem in which a woman’s are out of balance and is one of the leading causes of irregular ovulation and infertility. PCOS may also cause unwanted changes in the way you look. If it is not treated, over time it can lead to serious health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease.

Symptoms tend to be mild at first. You may have only a few symptoms or a lot of them. The most common symptoms are:

  • Acne
  • Weight gain and trouble losing weight
  • Extra hair on face and body
  • Thinning hair on scalp
  • Irregular periods
  • Fertility problems
  • Depression

Most women with PCOS grow many small cysts on their ovaries. The cysts are not harmful but lead to hormone imbalances.

The symptoms of PCOS are caused by changes in hormone levels. There may be one or more causes for the hormone level changes.

PCOS seems to run in families, so your chance of having it is higher if other women in your family have PCOS, irregular periods, or diabetes. PCOS can be passed down from either your mother’s or father’s side.

Semen Analysis

A comprehensive semen analysis is one of the first steps if a couple is having trouble conceiving. In approximately 60% of all couples experiencing infertility, a male factor is involved (40% primarily male and 20% combined male/female.)

Semen production occurs at several different sites. The sperm within the semen are the cells that actually fertilize the egg and are therefore the most important to assess.

However, the sperm account for only 1% to 2 % of the semen volume. Problems with the surrounding fluid may also interfere with the movement and function of the sperm. Therefore, both the sperm and the fluid must be tested.

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