IVF Glossary



An embryo that has formed a fluid-filled cavity and the cells have begun to form the early placenta and embryo, usually 5 to 6 days after ovulation or egg retrieval.


Cleavage Stage

Cleavage is the division of cells in the early embryo. The fertilised eggs undergo rapid cell divisions, producing a cluster of cells (also called blastomeres), usually 2 to 3 days after fertilisation.

Culture Dishes

Specially designed Petri dishes used to contain eggs and embryos during the in vitro fertilisation process.



Early Embryo Viability Assessment Test, a non-invasive test that helps embryologists identify on Day 3 which embryos are most likely to advance to the blastocyst stage, a critical milestone in embryo development.

Egg Retrieval

A minor surgical procedure in which eggs are obtained by inserting a needle into the ovarian follicle through the vagina and removing the fluid and the egg by suction. Also called oocyte aspiration, ovum pick-up or egg collection.


A fertilised egg that has begun cell division.

Embryo Assessment

A procedure used by embryologists to examine the embryos and assign scores or grades to them for the purpose of evaluating embryo quality and viability.

Embryo Culture

Growth of the embryo in a laboratory (culture) dish.

Embryo Freezing

Embryos can be cryopreserved and stored for future use.

Embryo Morphology

Embryo morphology is the visual appearance of an embryo including but not limited to number of cells, degree of fragmentation, evenness of the cell size, etcetera.

Embryo Transfer

Placement of an embryo into the uterus or into the fallopian tube.


A specially-trained professional who handles egg, sperm, and embryo procedures in an IVF laboratory.



The fusion of sperm and egg.


A fluid-filled structure in the ovary containing an egg and the surrounding cells that produce hormones. As the follicle matures, the fluid can be visualised by ultrasound.


ICSI or Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection

A micromanipulation procedure in which a single sperm is injected directly into an egg to attempt fertilisation. Used with male infertility or couples with prior IVF fertilisation failure.


The physical apparatus within the IVF laboratory that provides a controlled environment; where the proper temperature, humidity and carbon dioxide and/or oxygen concentration are maintained, for the cultivation of eggs and embryos.


Placement of sperm into the uterus or cervix for producing a pregnancy, or adding sperm to eggs in IVF procedures.

IVF (In Vitro Fertilisation)

A process in which an egg and sperm are combined in a laboratory dish to facilitate fertilisation. If fertilised, the resulting embryo is transferred to the uterus.


Ovarian Stimulation

The administration of hormone medications (ovulation drugs) that stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs. Sometimes called enhanced follicular recruitment or controlled ovarian hyperstimulation.



A fertilised egg before cell division (cleavage) begins.