Artificial Fertilisation Procedure: Any (a) artificial insemination procedure or (b) in vitro fertilisation procedure. (Human Reproductive Technology Act 1991)

Artificial Insemination Procedure: A procedure where human sperm are introduced, by a non-coital method, into the reproductive system of a woman but which is not, and is not an integral part of, an invitro fertilisation procedure. (Human Reproductive Technology Act 1991)

Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART): Includes a range of methods used to circumvent human infertility, including in vitro fertilisation (IVF), embryo transfer (ET), gamete intra-fallopian transfer (GIFT), artificial insemination (AI), all manipulative procedures involving gametes and embryos and treatment to induce ovulation or spermatogenesis when used in conjunction with the above methods. (NHMRC Ethical guidelines on assisted reproductive technology 1996)


ART Procedures

In vitro Fertilisation (IVF) Procedure: A procedure whereby an egg (or more than one egg) is retrieved from the body of a woman and combined with sperm outside the body to achieve fertilisation. If fertilisation is successful and the fertilised egg continues to develop to form an embryo, the embryo is subsequently transferred back into the uterus/ fallopian tube of a woman with the aim of achieving a pregnancy. If many embryos develop some of the surplus embryos may be frozen and used later.

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI): An IVF technique where to achieve fertilisation a single sperm is injected directly into an egg.

Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET): Where an embryo that has been frozen (cryopreserved) is thawed and then transferred to the uterus/ fallopian tube of a woman with the aim of achieving a pregnancy.

Gamete Intra-Fallopian Transfer: A procedure where an egg (or more than one egg) retrieved from the body of a woman and sperm obtained from a male are both inserted back into the fallopian tube of a woman, with the aim to achieve fertilisation (and then pregnancy) within the body of the woman.

Assisted hatching: An in-vitro fertilisation micromanipulation in which a small opening is made in the zona pellucida of an embryo to help the blastocyst emerge prior to implantation. (AIHW Assisted conception Australia and New Zealand 1999 and 2000, definition)

Blastocyst: Stage of development of the embryo about 5 – 6 days after fertilisation. (AIHW Assisted conception Australia and New Zealand 1999 and 2000, definitions)

- Return to top of this page


Donation

Artificial Insemination (AI): Any procedure in which human sperm are introduced into the reproductive tract of a woman by a non-coital method other than as part of an IVF or GIFT procedure. (NHMRC - Ethical guidelines on assisted reproductive technology, 1996)

Donor Insemination (DI): Introduction of sperm which has been donated, from a man other than the woman’s partner, into the reproductive tract of a woman by a non-coital method.

Donation: A process by which a person who has the responsibility to make decisions about the keeping or use of any gametes or embryo gives consent for their use by another person or persons. (NHMRC Ethical guidelines on assisted reproductive technology 1996)

In ART there are three types of donation - egg, sperm or embryo.

Donor embryo: A fertilised egg where the sperm and oocyte used do not belong to the couple attempting to conceive. A donor embryo may be donated from a couple, or may be made up from a donated oocyte and donated sperm. (AIHW Assisted Conception Australia and New Zealand 1999 and 2000, definitions)

Donor sperm: Sperm not belonging to the male partner of the couple attempting to conceive. The donor may or may not be known to the couple. (AIHW Assisted Conception Australia and New Zealand 1999 and 2000, definitions)

Donor oocyte: An unfertilised egg not belonging to the female member of the couple attempting to conceive. The donor may or may not be known to the couple (AIHW Assisted Conception Australia and New Zealand 1999 and 2000, definitions)

- Return to top of this page


Embryos

Embryo: Fertilised egg. (AIHW Assisted Conception Australia and New Zealand 1999 and 2000, definitions)

Embryo transfer: Procedure by which the embryo (usually aged 1 to 2 days but may be developed to the blastocyst stage) is placed into the uterus or the fallopian tube after IVF or ICSI. (AIHW Assisted Conception Australia and New Zealand 1999 and 2000, definitions)

Frozen embryo: Freezing (cryopreservation) of fresh embryos produces frozen embryos, which are subsequently thawed prior to transfer to the uterus or fallopian tube. (AIHW Assisted Conception Australia and New Zealand 1999 and 2000, definitions)

- Return to top of this page


Infertility Treatment

Infertility: Is the inability to conceive after a year of unprotected intercourse in women under 35 or after six months in women over 35, or the inability to carry a pregnancy to term. Also included are diagnosed problems such as anovulation, tubal blockage, low sperm count, etc. (INCIID - International Council on Infertility Information Dissemination - A glossary of Infertility Terms and Acronyms)

It has been estimated that approximately nine out of ten couples in their mid-twenties who are trying to have a baby will conceive within a year. About two thirds of the remaining 10 per cent may be ‘sub-fertile’ and can be assisted by assisted conception treatments. (Organon, Intrauterine insemination, undated)

The 'causes' of infertility may relate to ovulation, tubal or uterine factors, the male factor, sperm mucous interaction, endometriosis, sexual dysfunction, or be simply unexplainable. (Dr. Mark McKenna, lecture notes, 2000)

Effective consent: Is to be construed in accordance with section 22(8) of the HRT Act 1991.

For the purposes of this Act a consent to the use or keeping of any gametes, egg in the process of fertilisation or embryo shall not be taken to be effective unless -

  • it is given in writing;
  • any condition to which it is subject is met;
  • it has not been withdrawn; and
  • those gametes are, or that egg or embryo is, kept and used in accordance with the consent.

Informed consent: All those who are to give their consent should be given an oral explanation, supported by written information in plain languages that is provided to them in sufficient time for it to be taken away, read and considered, prior to the giving of consent to any ART procedure, or any significant step in the procedure that requires consent. This explanation should be given with sensitivity to cultural diversity and accessibility to those with low literacy, disability, and/or those whose first language is not English. (NHMRC - Ethical guidelines on assisted reproductive technology, 1996)

Multiple Births: A pregnancy that results in the birth of more than one baby.

Multiple Pregnancy: A pregnancy where there is more than one embryo/foetus in the uterus.

Singleton: A pregnancy that results in the birth of a single baby.

Sterility: An irreversible condition that prevents conception.

Surrogacy: Surrogacy is a practice whereby a woman agrees to become pregnant and bear a child for another person or persons, to whom she intends to transfer the child’s care at, or shortly after, birth.

Altruistic surrogacy: Altruistic surrogacy means a practice whereby a woman agrees, for no financial gain, to become pregnant and bear a child for another person or persons to whom she intends to transfer the child’s care at, or shortly after, the child’s birth. (Specific expenses incurred, associated with the pregnancy and birth, may be reimbursed).

Surrogacy arrangement: A surrogacy arrangement is an arrangement whereby a woman agrees to become or attempts to become pregnant and bear a child for another person or persons.

Parties to a surrogacy arrangement:

  • Birth mother: The woman who intends to give birth to the child.
  • Birth father: The de jure or de facto husband of the birth mother.
  • Birth parent(s): It means birth mother, birth father or birth parents, whichever is applicable.
  • Commissioning parents: The person or persons, who intend(s) to rear the child borne by the birth mother.
  • Child: The child born as a result of a surrogacy arrangement. After the child’s birth, the child is a party to proceedings that affect him/her.

- Return to top of this page

 

Blastocyst Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) 4 Cell Embryo (3 cells are visible) Blastocyst Oocyte Blastocyst Blastocyst Cleavage Stage Embryo Fertilised Egg Fertilised Egg