A Guide to Fertility Abbreviations and Acronyms

Hope: A feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.

I never expected to be doing homework and research while trying to start my family. While we were having no luck in getting pregnant, I would sit for hours and read blogs, articles, and books. We weren’t getting pregnant, I didn’t know why, and I needed to figure it out. The complex world of infertility has its own language. Why should we feel confused and overwhelmed while you are already struggling? Let this guide help you! Here is some of the most commonly used abbreviations in the trying to conceive (TTC) world:

BFP: Big Fat Positive. This was the word I was praying for my entire journey. I wanted and prayed for two pink lines on my pregnancy tests. The waiting game is horrible. Every cycle you wait for that BFP. You want that big thrill of exciting news. Pregnancy tests are expensive! go get that BFP and begin your baby journey. In our case, we always ended our cycles with a BFN. A big fat negative. BFN is never a good sign, but there is still hope for your BFP.

2WW: Two Week Wait. The awful, terrible, anxious 2WW. It takes about two weeks from implantation to hormone detection on a HPT (Home Pregnancy Test.) This is when you buy ten pregnancy tests and take one every single day until you get your BFP or your BFN. This can be a very stressful time as you await to discover if you are pregnant or not.

BD: Baby Dance. If you want to become PG (Pregnant) you must do the baby dance – getting busy between the sheets with your spouse. This is suppose to be the fun part! For those of you who feel like its a forced dance, and failure is the result, don’t give up on your DH (Dear Husband) or SO (Significant Other.)

AF: Aunt Flo. You do not want a visit from Aunt Flo when you are trying to get PG. That is your period. She comes once a month and isn’t welcome when you are TTC. I would be so excited to get into that second week of the 2ww, and I would also start spotting. The second that would appear, I knew my chances weren’t very good. I struggled with low progesterone, which would cause early spotting before Aunt Flow would show her ugly face. If you do become pregnant, your EDD (Estimated Due Date) can be determined by your LMP (Last Menstrual Period.)

DPO: Days Past Ovulation. This is used frequently when women are talking to one another about their cycles. We love to track our DPO because its a countdown to when we can pee on an HPT. I would love to read the earliest times women would get their BFP while tracking their DPO. I would always test the earliest I could, and keep testing daily after. I have seen photos of women keeping their pregnancy tests, writing what CD (Cycle Day) is on each test, keeping track. Even more so with an infertility journey.

hCG: Human chorionic gonadotropin. hCG is a hormone produced during pregnancy. A beta pregnancy test specifically looks for hCG. Levels of hCG increase steadily in the early stages of pregnancy. LH (luteinizing hormone) triggers ovulation, or the release of the eggs. P4 (progesterone hormone) is tested to determine: if ovulation has occurred, when ovulation occurred, if there has been a miscarriage, or if there has been an ectopic pregnancy. FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) is released by the brain to stimulate the ovarian follicles to grow and develop. E2 (estradiol) or your level of estrogen, is used to estimate how many eggs you will have for retrieval during your cycle. AMH (anti-mullerian hormone) is the best predictor of a woman’s ovarian reserve. Be your own advocate and get the AMH test! 

Are you memorizing all of this yet? Are you feeling overwhelmed? Do you have your notebook out? We still have more to go…

IUI: Intrauterine insemination. This is a low-tech fertility treatment that involves placing sperm inside a woman’s uterus to facilitate fertilization. HSG (hysterosalpingogram) determines the condition of the fallopian tubes and uterus by placing dye through the cervix into the uterus and fallopian tubes. IVF (in-vitro fertilization) is a method of assisted reproduction that involves combining an egg with sperm in a lab dish. The embryo is transferred into the woman’s uterus where it will hopefully implant. If all else fails, you can use a GC (gestational carrier.) A GC is used for women who are unable to carry their own child or for same-sex couples. A DE (donor egg) is needed for those who are unable to use their own eggs for conception, but can still carry a child in their uterus.

MF: Male factor infertility. Nearly 40% of infertility is related to male factor. This can occur from structural abnormalities, sperm production disorders, ejaculatory disturbances, and immunologic disorders. SA (semen analysis) is performed to tell the number of sperm that are present, whether they are normal, and how well they move. My husband had this test performed – do this right away to rule out any MF infertility.

SI: Secondary infertility. The inability to become pregnant following the birth of one or more biological children who were born without the aid of fertility treatment or medications.

RPL: Recurrent pregnancy loss. This is defined as two or more consecutive, spontaneous pregnancy losses before the pregnancies reach 20 weeks.

Have you taken it all in? I wish I had this handy guide when we were trying to get pregnant. Create a pocket guide for your purse. You can take it to the doctor’s office, the reproductive endocrinologist’s office, use it when the triage nurse calls you back, or take it out when you are researching your best TTC blog. You are spending a lot of time, a lot of money, and a lot of hope trying to figure out your reproductive system. Make it easier for you and your spouse!

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The Infertility Doula

I am a infertile woman with no biological children. My infertility stems from endometriosis and adenomyosis. I work and live in Duluth, Minnesota. I am married with five dogs and have an adult stepdaughter.

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