Andrology Glossary

 

Abstinence – a period of time without any ejaculations (reported in days)

 

Acrosome – an enzymatic cap that sits atop the head of sperm cell and functions to allow sperm to communicate with and penetrate the egg.

 

Acrosome reaction – a change in the sperm acrosome that occurs prior to the sperm being able to penetrate the egg

 

Andrology – the study/science of male reproduction and fertility

 

ART – assisted reproductive technologies; includes procedures such as IVF or IUI

 

Aspermia – the lack of an ejaculate; no semen released upon orgasm

 

Asthenozoospermia – the percentage of progressively motile sperm is below the lower reference limit

 

Azoospermia – no sperm in the ejaculate

 

BPH – benign prostatic hypoplasia; a condition in which the prostate is swollen

 

CASA – computer aided semen analysis; a software that performs semen analysis

 

CLIA – Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments; the national program designed to oversee laboratory practices and certificaitons

 

Cryopreservation – the process of “freezing” cells or tissues for indefinite storage

 

Cryoprotectant – a substance used to freeze human cells/tissue that replaces water molecules to prevent them from crystallizing during freezing that causes cellular death

 

Cryptoorchidism – a condition that prevents one or both testicles from dropping into the scrotum prior to birth and often prevents normal sperm production; aka an undescended testicle

 

Cryptozoospermia – the presence of sperm in a centrifuged sample when it was absent from wet preparations

 

CSA – complete semen analysis

 

Efferent ducts – the ducts that collect the sperm from the seminiferous tubules and trasports it to the epididymis

 

Ejaculation – the process by which semen is expelled from the body upon orgasm

 

Epididymis – the tube that sperm enters into from the testicle and leads to the vas deferens; the location of where sperm maturation takes place

 

Epididymitis – an inflammation/infection of the epididymis

 

FSH – follicular stimulating hormone; the hormone produced in the brain that tells the testicles to make sperm (or the ovary to mature an egg).

 

FDA – the Food and Drug Administration; oversees cryopreservation, storage and shipment of all human cellular or tissue products/samples

 

Forward progression – a way to classify sperm movement based on average speed and direction of movement

 

Gametes - the reproductive cells: sperm and eggs

 

Germ cells – the types of cells that give rise to sperm and eggs

 

Hypoosmotic swelling test – a way to test the vitality of sperm without killing them or rendering them unuseable for ART

 

Hypospermia – the volume of the semen is lower than normal range

 

Hypospadia – a condition in which the opening to the urethra is not at the front of the head of the penis

 

Immotile – a sperm that is not moving (it could still be alive however)

 

Infertility – when a person is not able to produce offspring naturally

 

IUI – intrauterine insemination; the least invasive type of ART, consists of washing sperm and using a catheter to place them into the uterus

 

IVF – in vitro fertilization; a type of ART that involves surgically removing eggs and fertilizing them in lab, and incubating the embryos for a period of time before transferring the embryos into the uterus

 

ICSI – intracytoplasmic sperm injection; a more complex method of IVF that involves actually injecting a single sperm into an egg to fertilize it

 

Karyotype – a type of genetic analysis that looks at the chromosome content of an individual

 

LH – lutenizing hormone; a type of hormone that is related to gamete production

 

Lower reference limits – the lowest average value for fertile individuals; used as a reference point for relatively looking at fertility

 

Morphology -- the way the sperm look, their physical appearance or form (shape, size, etc). References specific flaws in the different parts of the sperm cell (head, midpiece, tail, acrosome).

 

Motility – movement; the percentage of sperm that are moving versus those that are not moving (these sperm are immotile)

 

Necrozoospermia – the percentage of live sperm is below the lower reference limit, with a high percentage of immotile sperm

 

NOA – non-obstructive azoospermia; lack of sperm in an ejaculate due to a lack of sperm production

 

Non-progressive motility – sperm that are moving in place but not going anywhere, aka “twitchers”

 

OA – obstructive azoospermia; lack of sperm in an ejaculate due to a blockage

 

Oligozoospermia – the concentration of sperm is below the lower reference limit

 

Oligoasthenoteratozoospermia – the concentration, percentage of progressively motile sperm and percentage of morphologically normal sperm are all below the lower reference limit

 

PEU – post-ejaculate urine analysis

 

pH – the acidity/alkalinity of a sample; 0-14 scale with pH of 7 being neutral

 

PRevSA – post vasectomy reversal semen analysis

 

Progressive motility – when a sperm is moving such that it is moving forward with each tail stroke; reported as a percentage; part of differential motility

 

Prostate – the male organ that is responsible for adding compounds to the sperm/semen mixture

 

PVSA – post vasectomy semen analysis

 

REI – reproductive endocrinology and infertility; a type of medical doctor that has been fellowship trained in fertility following Ob/Gyn training; the doctors that perform female fertility work-ups and all types of ART.

 

Retrograde ejaculation – a condition in which semen is expelled into the urinary bladder rather than out the penis

 

SA – semen analysis

 

Seminiferous tubules – the tubules inside the testicle that are where sperm is produced

 

Seminoma – a cancer of the cells that make up the testicle

 

Sertoli cell – the type of testicular cell that makes sperm cells

 

SIPs – sexually intimate partners; a type of donor classification

 

Staining – a way of exposing sperm to certain chemicals/dyes so that different parts of the sperm cell take up different colors; most often used for vitality or morphology

 

Teratozoospermia – the percentage of morphologically normal sperm is below the lower reference limit

 

Testosterone – a steroid hormone that is responsible for sperm production, the manifestation of “male” characteristics and sex drive/libido

 

Varicocele – an engorging of veins leading to the testicle that can cause subfertility; treatable condition

 

Viscosity – the thickness of a sample, i.e. how easily it flows

 

Vitality – aka viability; the percentage of sperm that are alive vs. dead

 

Volume – how much of a sample there is; measured in milliliters typically.

 

WHO 5th – the most current edition of the World Health Organization’s manual for the examining and processing of human semen, released in 2010.