Skip to Main Content

Assisted Reproduction Glossary

ABA Model Act Governing Assisted Reproductive Technology: A model act proposed by the American Bar Association Family Law Section Reproductive and Genetic Technology Committee which was approved by the ABA House of Delegates in 2008 and which sets out proposals for determining parentage and other issues arising in the context of assisted reproductive technology.

Anonymous Donor: A person who provides sperm or eggs for use by others to a provider of assisted reproductive services whose identity is not revealed to the recipients of the gametes.

Artificial Insemination (AI): Insertion of sperm into female reproductive organs by any means other than sexual intercourse with the intent to cause a pregnancy. More property called Intrauterine Insemination (IUI).

Assisted Reproduction: Any Method by which a person or couple seek to conceive a child by means other than sexual intercourse.

Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART): Any Technology that is employed to conceive a child by means other than sexual intercourse.

Blastocyst: An early-stage embryo. Sometimes referred to as Pre-Embryo or Zygote.

Blended Intrauterine Insemination: Insertion of sperm taken from a husband or male companion of a female who is an intended mother and is blended with additional sperm provided by a donor, or insertion of blended sperm of homosexual partners, into the recipient woman’s reproductive organs by any means other than sexual intercourse with the purpose of causing a pregnancy. Sometimes also called Combined Intrauterine Insemination or Combined Artificial Insemination.

Collaborative Reproduction: An attempt to produce a pregnancy by or for intended parents which involves the participation of another person or other persons who are not intended parents.

Cryopreservation: A process by which gametes or embryos are treated and then frozen for potential future use.

Donor: A Person who provides sperm or eggs for use by others in an attempt to conceive a child through assisted reproduction, whether known or not and whether for compensation or not.

Egg: Female reproductive cell prior to fertilization by sperm. Also called Ovum or Oocyte.

Embryo: A cell containing a diploid complement of chromosomes or a group of such cells with the potential of becoming a live human being. i.e., an egg that has been fertilized and has thereafter developed for one to three days in a female uterus or that has been placed in cryopreservation for future transplant into a uterus. When in early stages of development or placed in cryopreservation, sometimes referred to as Pre-embryo, Zygote, or Blastocyst.

Embryo Adoption: An arrangement by which embryo donors agree with embryo recipients that the latter will try to become pregnant and give bitch using the donated embryo. Although called adoption, this is not a legal adoption, but after birth recipients may petition to adopt the child.

Embryo Agreement: A written agreement governing the creation, use, and disposition of embryos created by the parties.

Embryo Donation: The act by a couple who have fertilized eggs in cryopreservation of providing them to others who can have them implanted and hopefully give birth to a child, whether for compensation or not.

Embryo Transfer: Fertilization of an egg by sperm in vitro or in the body of a female donor and/or surrogate who assists intended parent(s) in having children through collaborative reproduction.

Female Sterility: Female inability to conceive a child.

Gamete: A cell containing a haploid complement of DNA which, when combined with another gamete, can become an embryo. Commonly called Egg or Ovum or Sperm.

Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer: An attempt to fertilize eggs by placing them with sperm in the fallopian tubes of the recipient women instead of attempting fertilization in vitro. Abbreviated as GIFT.

Gamete Uterine Transfer: Attempting to produce a pregnancy by placing sperm and egg in the uterus of the female recipient. Abbreviated as GUT.

Gestational Carrier: A woman who is not genetically related to the intended legal parent of the child to whom she gives birth for the benefit of the intended parents. Also called Gestational Surrogate.

Gestational Carrier Agreement: An agreement by which an embryo is placed in the reproductive organs of a potential birth mother who has no genetic connection with the embryo and who agrees to carry any resulting child to term on behalf of the intended parents and to surrender custody of and parental rights to the child after birth.

Infertility: The inability or diminished capacity to produce a pregnancy or to carry a pregnancy to term. For purposes of determining eligibility for assisted reproductive services or insurance coverage, infertility is variously defined by statute in some jurisdictions. Generally defined as having unprotected sex for one year or more without a resulting pregnancy.

Intended Parent(s): The Person(s) who initiate the assisted reproduction process and who intend at the outset of the process to be the legal parents of any children so conceived.

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection: The injection of a single sperm into a single egg in vitro.

In Vitro Fertilization: Fertilization of an egg by sperm outside of the womb in a petri dish in order to produce an embryo that can be placed either in the potential birth mother’s reproductive organs or in cryopreservation for future use.

Posthumous Reproduction: Use of cryopreserved gametes or embryos of a deceased person to produce a pregnancy.

Pre-Embryo: The early states of the development of an embryo; the first three days following the fertilization of the egg. Sometimes called a Zygota. In many court decision and legal literature, often included under the more comprehensive term Embryo.

Pregnancy: Development of an embryo or fetus in the female body after fertilization/implantation.

Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis: Biopsy on a cell taken from an embryo to determine its genetic characteristics and condition prior to implantation.

Reproductive Cloning: Transferring the product of somatic cell nuclear transfer in attempt to initiate a pregnancy.

Semen: A Viscous whitish secretion of the male reproductive organs containing sperm

Sperm: Male reproductive cell contained in his semen that fertilizes the female egg.

Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT): The process by which a nucleus extracted from a somatic cell and is transferred and fused with an enucleated oocyte. The fused entity is stimulated to di vide in order to create an embryo.

Sterility: Inability to engage in human reproduction.

Superovulation: The process of inducing the production of multiple eggs for harvesting through use of fertility drugs in order to increase the potential for production of a pregnancy.

Surrogate: A woman who agrees to carry to term and deliver a child for another person or couple, whether she is a genetic mother of the child or not, and whether she does so for compensation or not. Sometimes referred to as gestational carrier, gestational surrogate, or traditional surrogate.

Traditional Surrogate: A woman who conceives a child which is genetically her own by intrauterine insemination using the sperm of a man other than her husband or partner in order to make the sperm provider a father and who agrees to carry the child to term in her own womb, whether for compensation or not. Sometimes called Surrogate Mother.

Uniform Parentage Act (2000) (UPA): A uniform act proposed by the Commissioners on Uniform State Laws which, in sections 7 and 9 as revised in 2002, sets out proposals for determining parentage issues arising in the context of assisted reproductive technology.

Uniform Status of Children Assisted Conception Act (USCACA): A uniform act proposed by the Commissioners on Uniform State Laws in 1988 to deal with legal issues arising from assisted reproductive technology. Approval of the Commissioners was withdrawn in 2000.

Zygote: A fertilized egg prior to implantation. Often referred to as Pre-Embryo or Embryo in court decisions or legal literature.