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Ectopic pregnancy: A pregnancy that occurs anywhere other than in the uterus. This can occur in the fallopian tubes, overies or abdominal cavity.

Egg: The gamete produced by females during their monthly cycle. The egg is also known as an oocyte. 

Egg collection: Procedure by which eggs are collected from the woman's ovaries by using an ultrasound guided needle, or by using a laparoscope (an instrument used for looking into the abdomen) and a needle. Also known as egg retrieval. 

Egg donation: The process by which a fertile woman donates her eggs to be used in the treatment of others or for research.

Egg sharing: An arrangement where a woman seeking IVF treatment undergoes one cycle of treatment in which her eggs are recovered. She then uses a proportion  of these eggs in her own treatment and donates the remaining eggs to another woman. The woman donating her eggs may receive benefits such as reduction in the cost of her treatment.

Embryo: A fertilised egg that has the potential to develop into a foetus.

Embryo biopsy: The removal and culture of one or two cells from an embryo in vitro prior to genetic screening.

Embryo Culture: Development of embryos in vitro. Following fertilisation of egg(s) this occurs for two to six days.

Embryo division: The splitting of an in vitro embryo at an early stage when each section may continue development.  This may produce multiple copies of the single original embryo, and may be considered a form of cloning – fission cloning.

Embryo freezing: Embryos not required for treatment in a cycle can be frozen and stored for future use.  Freezing is also known as cryopreservation. 

Embryo storage: The storage of one or more embryos for future use by freezing (cryopreservation).

Embryo transfer: The replacement of embryos back into the female patient.

Endometriosis:  A female condition in which endometrial cells which normally line the uterus, implant around the outside of the uterus and/or ovaries, causing internal bleeding, pain and reduced fertility.

Endometrium: The lining of the womb which grows and sheds during a normal menstrual cycle and which supports a foetus if a pregnancy occurs.

Epididymis: A highly convoluted tube about seven metres long that connects the testes to the vas deferens.  The sperm are moved along the tube and are stored in the lower part until ejaculation.

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Page last updated: 18 July 2012