When we began the process of trying to conceive a child, we found ourselves faced with an unfamiliar lexicon, the language and jargon of fertility science. We tried to order sperm units (definition below) only to find that there were different kinds of units and that the type of units we needed were not in stock. We were left scratching our heads, thinking, "Different kinds of sperm? Whooda thunk it?"
To provide clarity for other couples on a similar journey to parenthood (and in an effort to entertain others), we have assembled a dictionary of the most common terms we've encountered.
intrauterine insemination (n)- the process of using a catheter to inject sperm into a woman's uterus; usually referred to as IUI Translation: The swimmers don't have as far to swim if they start out in your uterus. It's like starting a marathon at mile 12. Sentence: They should've lubricated the catheter more during my IUI.
Unit (n): euphemism for one vial of sperm, enough for one IUI treatment Translation: This little vial is smaller than a bottle of nail polish. This is fitting because the vial is the cost of a bottle of nail polish when the decimal is moved two places. (Provided you buy expensive nail polish.) Sentence: We paid HOW much for that unit?!
Washed (adj.): lacking semen Translation: Apparently, semen in the uterus causes bad cramping. Therefore, sperm are "cleansed" of their semen so that solely sperm are used in the IUI process. Other types of fertility treatments use "unwashed units", meaning units containing sperm and their semen entourage. Sentence: Mommy, how do the washed units get washed? (Did you notice that we threw 2 vocabulary words into that sentence? We know we have an intelligent readership.)
Open Identity Donor (n.): a sperm donor who is willing to be contacted by your child when your child reaches the age of 18. Translation: You will pay extra for this option. Sentence: If we are picking an open identity donor, we'd better make sure he's not a weirdo.
A.R.T. vials (n.): A.R.T. is an acronym for Assisted Reproductive Technology, and these "units" are used in IVF (in vitro fertilization) and other fertility procedures Translation: Don't let the acronym fool you; this has nothing to do with charcoal pencils or oil pastels. Sentence: Silly me! I tried to order A.R.T. vials for an I.U.I. procedure!
Clomid (n.): one of the most commonly used fertility drugs used to regulate ovulation Translation: When drugs regulate hormones, hold on to your hats! Sentence: Honey, do you remember that time you had a crying fit when you were on Clomid?
Letrozole (n.): another common fertility drug that helps regulate and promote ovulation Translation: See Clomid (above)