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Glossary of Terms

Abstain from Ejaculation: To refrain from having an ejaculate. CryoGam recommends that you abstain for at least 3 days, but no longer than 7 days, prior to freezing sperm or laboratory analysis.


Anonymous Oocyte Donor: An anonymous oocyte donor is  typically between the ages of 21-35. The donor is stimulated with fertility drugs to develop more than one follicle so multiple oocytes may be recovered during egg retrieval. The donor has no legal obligation to any ensuing pregnancy. Their identity is not known to the recipient. Anonymous oocyte donors are regulated by the FDA.


Anonymous Sperm Donor: An anonymous sperm donor is typically between the ages of 18-35. The donate sperm for a minimum of 6 months. There is  no legal obligation to any ensuing pregnancy. The donor's identity is not known to the recipient(s). Anonymous sperm donors are regulated by the FDA.


CMV: Cytomegalovirus, or CMV, is found universally throughout all geographic locations and socioeconomic groups. It is very common, occurring in 50-85% of all Americans by the age of 40. For most healthy people who acquire CMV after birth there are few symptoms and no long-term health consequences. However, unborn babies exposed to CMV can develop severe fetal anomalies. CMV can be transmitted through contact with saliva, semen, vaginal secretions, blood, urine, and breast milk. Donors are screened for CMV to ensure that they are not currently infected with CMV. A recent or current infection is indicated by a positive CMV IgM result. This means the donor is actively shedding the CMV virus and cannot be a sperm donor at that time for risk of transmitting the virus. A donor who has a positive CMV IgG result has had past exposure to CMV and has built up antibodies to the virus.


Communicable Disease: A communicable disease is a disease in which the FDA has established as a potential transmission risk to either the recipient of the HCTP (Human Cells, Tissues, and Tissue-Based Products) or to people who come into contact with the HCTP. FDA requires relevant communicable disease screening and testing to be completed on all directed (known) and anonymous donors.


Cryopreservation: Cryopreservation is the low-temperature storage of biological cells and/or tissues for indefinite periods of time. Cryopreservation of sperm utilizes liquid Nitrogen as both the refrigerant and storage medium.

Directed (Known) Donor: A known or directed donor is a sperm and/or oocyte donor that is known to the recipient prior to the retrieval for use of his/her gametes. This includes people such as a brother, sister, aunt, uncle, or friend. The arrangement of legal obligation of these donors is usually worked out with a lawyer prior to the procedures being done. Known, or directed, donors are regulated by the FDA but have more flexibility in their health eligibility to be a donor than anonymous donors.


Egg Retrieval: An in-office procedure using an ultrasound guided needle to puncture and aspirate the follicles on an ovary in hopes of retrieving oocytes. The oocytes retrieved will then be used in IVF.


Ejaculate: The semen expelled coincident with the male orgasm.


Embryo: A fertilized oocyte in the early stages of development. Embryos can be frozen and stored in liquid nitrogen either for short or long term. Reasons for freezing and storing embryos vary, but most people have more embryos than are safe to transfer from IVF and thus freeze their extra embryos to be used at a later date.


FDA: Food and Drug Administration. The FDA regulates the donation of HCTP's.


Gestational Carrier: A gestational carrier is a woman who undergoes an embryo transfer with embryos that are not genetically linked to her. She has no biological input to the genetics of the pregnancy and is simply being asked and/or paid to carry the pregnancy to term. A gestational carrier can be from an agency which in the beginning makes her unknown or it can be a personal friend/family member thus making her known from the beginning.


HCTP: Human Cells, Tissues, and Cellular and Tissue Based Products. This includes sperm, oocytes, and embryos.


Intrauterine Insemination (IUI): Insemination is a mechanical process where sperm is loaded into a soft flexible catheter and passed through the recipient's cervix so the sperm can be deposited directly into the uterus. It is an in-office procedure that typically takes about 15 minutes depending on the health care provider. This process is done during the recipient's fertile time and can occur once or twice in a cycle.


Insemination Unit: The individual unit of processed sperm used for insemination. Each unit is the result of carefully washing all of the sperm cells in the ejaculate with a specialized nutrient medium and dividing the total into a number of smaller portions, or units.


Intended Parents: Intended parents are the people or person that will receive a baby. The baby may be of their genetic make-up or that of a donor.


In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF): IVF is a procedure where oocytes are removed from an ovary and combined in a dish with sperm in the hopes that fertilization will take place and an embryo, or multiple embryos, will result. It can take up to a month of being on medication to harvest oocytes. The cost of IVF compared to insemination is much higher and many health insurance companies do not cover it.


Personal Sperm Cryopreservation: Storage of sperm to be used with a partner that one is sexually intimate with. Personal sperm cryopreservation patients are not required to complete FDA communicable disease screening and testing, but in the future their specimens can only be used with a sexually intimate partner.


Quarantine Period: The length of time that donor sperm (or other reproductive tissue) is kept in storage and is not available for use until repeat communicable disease screening and testing is complete. The minimum quarantine time of all anonymous and Directed Donor sperm specimens is 6 months (180 days).


Recipient: A recipient is the medical term used for the person receiving reproductive tissue. This person can be receiving sperm from an insemination or an embryo from in-vitro fertilization using an oocyte donor.


Semen or Seminal Fluid: The thick, whitish secretion of the male reproductive organs. The seminal fluid contains sperm from the testes and secretions of the male accessory gland, including the prostate gland and the seminal vesicles.

Traditional Surrogate: A traditional surrogate is a person who is inseminated with sperm from an intended parent that is planning on taking full custody of the baby. The traditional surrogate is different than the gestational carrier in that they contributes half the genetic make-up of the offspring. Typically the traditional surrogate will have a legal arrangement with the intended parent(s) to relinquish parental rights and obligations. Traditional surrogacy is not legal in all states.

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