Fertility Acronyms You Need To Know

We've taken some of the most common terms from our fertility glossary and explained what they stand for and a little bit about it.
Confusing infertility acronyms "IVF, PUPO?, BFP?, IUI, AF?"
Confusing infertility acronyms "IVF, PUPO?, BFP?, IUI, AF?"

If you've ever been scrolling through infertility support group comments or are reading your test results from your fertility consultation, you may have some some of these acronyms and then completely blanked trying to figure out what they even mean.

There are basically two types of fertility acronyms. The type that are used clinically by your reproductive endocrinologist, nurses, & embryologists and then there are the shorthand terms you see in community support groups that infertility patients use as shorthand when describing their fertility journey.  

We've taken some of the most common terms from our fertility glossary and explained what they stand for and a little bit about it.

Fertility acronyms that are common at the clinic

What does IUI Stand for? 

IUI = Intrauterine insemination

Intrauterine insemination is a minimally invasive method of infertility treatment.

This is the first line of treatment for many new patients before considering IVF. 

In this procedure, a sperm sample (from your partner or a donor) is processed in the lab by an andrologist.

The processing, sometimes known as 'sperm wash' or 'sperm selection' is a technique used to remove any immotile sperm and leave only motile sperm that will be able to make their way to the egg. 

A reproductive endocrinologist will then insert the sperm sample into the uterus of the patient so that the sperm can swim up the uterus and into the fallopian tubes where a sperm will hopefully fertilize an egg leading to a successful pregnancy. 

This all happens on your expected ovulation date, which the physician has tracked by measuring blood hormone levels and monitoring the ovaries for follicle growth using trans-vaginal ultrasound.

The treatment plan may be include taking fertility medications or without medications, known as a natural cycle.

What does IVF stand for?

IVF = in vitro fertilization

This is one of the most well-known infertility acronyms.

IVF is a more invasive and expensive method of trying to conceive in which sperm and eggs are fertilized in an embryology lab in order to create embryos.

There are many reasons why a person might need to do IVF in order to conceive, some examples being recurrent pregnancy loss, failures using IUI, a hereditary genetic disease, male factor infertility, surrogacy, donor eggs, etc.

Once the eggs have been fertilized, the embryos are cultured for a number of days (usually 5 or 6) so that the embryologists can track how each embryo develops.

Some embryos will 'arrest' and stop developing while others will continue to develop normally until day 5 or 6 when embryos are typically selected for transfer into the uterus or frozen to use at a later date.

Overall, the IVF process takes about two weeks but your time at the clinic from your first consultation to your first pregnancy test could span at least 3 months, if not more. 

What does PGT-A stand for?

PGT-A = Preimplantation genetic testing for aneuploidy

That may seem like gibberish to you, so let's simplify what that means.

PGT-A is a genetic test that can be done on embryos in order to tell you if it has the correct number of chromosomes.

An embryo needs to have the correct number of chromosomes in its cells in order to develop normally and lead to a viable pregnancy and healthy baby.

Most embryos that are chromosomally abnormal do not develop well in the lab but some embryos can make it to day 5 or 6 to be transferred.

Although they may look normal, an embryo with too many or too few chromosomes will lead to a negative pregnancy test (most often), miscarriage or in rare cases a baby with a genetic disorder such as Down Syndrome (trisomy 21, an embryo that has an extra chromosome 21).

Genetic testing is an option available to all patients but is usually only recommended by physicians in cases where there is reason to believe that an IVF cycle will result in a large portion of the embryos being abnormal, such as for women with advanced maternal age or recurrent pregnancy loss.

For these patient groups, genetic testing can help patients avoid the higher likelihood of transferring an abnormal embryo and instead hopefully identify an embryo that is the most likely to result in a healthy baby.

PGT-A is usually not covered by insurance so most patients will pay out-of-pocket to test each embryo.

If you plan on paying for PGT-A, it might be helpful to know that while the cost of PGT-A can be a high depending on how many embryos you have, the testing may save you money in the long run by helping you to avoid the transfer of abnormal embryos that would likely lead to a failed transfer. 

What does PGT-M Stand for?

PGT-M = Preimplantation genetic testing for monogenic/single-gene defects

PGT-M is a genetic test that is only usually used for patients that carry a genetic mutation that their child may be at risk of inheriting that would lead to health complications, such as the BRCA genes, Huntington disease, Muscular Dystrophy or other genetic diseases. 

The test can only identify one specific genetic defect that has been identified from a genetic carrier screening performed on the parents, which tests for a specific list of genetic diseases. 

You can't have your embryo tested for multiple unforeseen genetic issues that may arise, only ones where the carrier screening has identified a risk of you and/or your partner passing on one of the identified genetic mutations.

What does FET stand for?

FET = Frozen embryo transfer

Embryos created from an IVF cycle are commonly frozen to be transferred into the uterus at a later date. 

While some physicians will follow the patient's natural cycle in preparation for an FET, patients will more often be prescribed a medication protocol (usually a form of estrogen and progesterone) to follow prior to the embryo transfer that will help prepare the uterus for embryo implantation and will continue into the first trimester to help support a successful pregnancy. 

The reproductive endocrinologist will track blood hormone levels as well as measure uterine thickness to time when the embryo transfer should occur.

They take hormone levels, uterine thickness and the development stage of the embryo into account when choosing what date the transfer will be so that the embryo is synchronized with what the uterine environment would naturally be during the time the embryo is at it's particular stage.

Fertility acronyms commonly used by the infertility community

What does TTC stand for?

TTC = Trying to conceive

Ah, we gave you an easy one here! But it is a good acronym to be aware of because it's common for patients and doctors to notate how long someone has been trying to get pregnant using this shorthand.

What does TWW stand for?

TWW or 2WW = Two-week wait

The two-week wait (10-14 days) is the period of time that an infertility patient has to wait after an IUI or embryo transfer to find out whether she has a positive pregnancy test. 

After two weeks, the patient typically goes back into the clinic for a blood pregnancy test to measure her bhCG levels. A bHCG level above 5 mIU/mL is considered a positive pregnancy test. 

What does PUPO stand for?

PUPO = Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise

We think this is one of the tougher ones to figure out by just looking at it! 

This is a term commonly used in social media posts and infertility communities for the positive state of mind women are in during their two-week wait. They had their IUI or embryo transfer and won't know for the next two weeks whether they have a positive pregnancy test, so for now they are pregnant until proven otherwise!

What does 3dp5dt stand for?

3dp5dt = 3 days post 5 day transfer

Infertility patients typically use this shorthand to describe how far they are into the two-week wait after an embryo transfer.

It also tells you how many days the embryo had developed in the lab before it was transferred or frozen for future transfer.

Embryo transfers occur Days 3, 5 or 6 of embryo development, with Day 5 and Day 6 being the most common.

So for 5dp6dt, that would be a patient who had her embryo transfer 5 days ago and the embryo had developed in the lab for 6 days prior to transfer, usually indicative of an embryo that is a blastocyst stage.

Which was the tricky one for you?

Have another term you were looking for? Check out our full glossary of fertility terms!