So following my shameful admission on Insta stories, that I didn’t actually know that TTC was the common parlance for this process we are all going through, sorry about that, I decided to bring myself bang up to date on all things in the IVF abbreviation world! You may all be laughing at me, and given that I’m about to embark on round number 5, that these would/ should be ingrained on my brain already.
However, I feel like I need to explain why I don’t know, or rather haven’t engaged in a lot of these abbreviations to date. When we first started out on our fertility journey, I did initially go onto some forums / message boards, but I almost immediately realised that they just weren’t for me. I actually found most of them really negative and really serious (I’m not pretending this isn’t serious, but everything needs a little hint of a smile surely?), and all they did was use abbreviations, so I just stopped. The instagram community is completely different, couldn’t be more different. Yes, lots of people do use these abbreviations, but it feels like a completely different context for some reason. It’s positive, supportive and cuddly and often feels like I’m on an American High School Cheerleading team (without having to be back in high school, or indeed dressed in tan tights and leotards!), which is brilliant!
We decided, however, that we would not surround ourselves with negativity or guesswork, and although we did plenty of research about our treatments/ investigations, we just made sure to ask the right people the right questions. Every one is different, and everyone has a different plan. (REMEMBER DON’T COMPARE!) At least Dwighty asked the right questions, I was always a bit overwhelmed by those meetings, having dropped my trousers and had a cold wand up there, I felt my bit was done! 🙂 That is not to say that I don’t completely understand why they are used so extensively. Most of the terms, procedures etc have lengthy and not the most tactile of names/ labels, but I just can’t get to grips with them. I’m one of those people that don’t use abbreviations in text messages, I have to write words in full and compose a text as I would a conversation. Aside from a few emojis and using “lols” ironically, that’s as far as I go.
The other reason why I thought this post might be useful, is actually for all the people who aren’t necessarily in the TTC (see what I did there!) community, or maybe you are and you are like me, or just starting out on this confusing, exciting, exhausting but hopefully rewarding journey.
Part of the reason I started the blog was to help people who weren’t in the process, those slightly on the outside ie friends and family, in trying to help understand it. Trying to help them be able to be informed about how you might be feeling and about how the whole thing bloody works to be honest. Also, just to give an insight into why your friends might be cancelling last minute, because the woman feels like a beached whale and can’t sit comfortably at a dinner table for long periods of time, or that they need to take an injection in their arse, which isn’t conducive to drinks in the pub. One of the biggest compliments I’ve had to date about my blog, was from an editor I worked with a couple of times, who found my blog through another colleague of his. He sent me a message to say thanks, because one of his best friends was just about to go through it, and he wasn’t sure how to talk to her about it, but reading my thoughts, really helped him to find a way. It made me smile and cry at the same time, I mean HOW NICE IS THAT!?
For me, and I know everyone is different, it’s really important for people to understand what this is all about, and the most humbling thing for me has been the fact that some of my friends, and a couple in particular, have really gone out of their way to read about IVF, to really take in my words, and even follow a few of the TTC community on Instagram to really try and be on my side. You can’t buy that shit!
So below is a list (not exhaustive as there are SOOOOO many!), of the most common references you might see or hear people refer to. Most of them are pretty self explanatory, but some not… and some I’ve put a VERY brief explanation next to:
n.b I am not a DOCTOR, this is all information widely available on the interweb.
p.s this is really for people outside TTC, or people just starting their journey, or an ignoramus like meJ
2WW – Two week wait
10dp3dt – 10 days past 3day transfer – (transfer meaning when the fertilised eggs are inserted back into the uterus)
AF – Aunt Flo = period arriving / bleeding starting – surely there is a better one for this, it feels a little antiquated? No? Especially when I looked up it’s supposed origin from the 1950s!)
BBT – Basal Body Temperature – (this terms refers to when women are monitoring their ovulation during their cycle, and is taken when your body is at rest ie when you first wake up in the morning. The change in temperature indicates when ovulation occurs)
BCP – Birth Control Pill
BETA – hCG level blood test – literally had never heard this term before, until everyone has been referring to it on Instagram! This measures your HCG(pregnancy hormone) levels.
BFP/ BFN – Big Fat Positive/Negative
CD – Cycle Day
DH/DW/DS/DD – Dear Husband/Wife/Son/Daughter – not sure how Dwighty would feel if I called him Dear Husband, he freaks out if I call him by his first name!
ED – Egg Donor
EDD – Estimated due date
ER / ET – Embryo Retrieval/Transfer
FSH– Follical Stimulating Hormone – these are the drugs taken during treatment to do exactly what they say on the tin.
FET – Frozen Embryo Transfer
hCG – Human Chorionic Gonadfotropin – this is the “pregnancy hormone” that is looked for when taking a pregnancy test. It is also a way of indicating how the pregnancy is progressing in the early days of a positive test. If the HCG falls or does not develop at the right rate, it’s likely the pregnancy won’t be viable. You would not know this detail in a natural pregnancy, you would just know you were pregnant and then go for a scan when you were told. And I think actually not every clinic does this, but I know mine does.
HPT – Home Pregnancy Test
ICSI – Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection – is when sperm is injected directly into the egg.
IUI – Intra-Uterine Insemination – deliberately introducing sperm into the uterus/ cervix
IVF – In Vitro Fertilization – fertilisation of egg and sperm happens outside the body
IVIg – Intra-venous immunoglobulin therapy – I’ve had a few of these! It’s basically blood plasma (it’s not red!), and is used to help balance your NK cells. (there is also another version called Intralipids)
LMP – Last Menstrual Period
LH – Luteinizing Hormone – this hormone basically triggers ovulation and release of the egg from the ovary.
LP – Luteal Phase – occurs after ovulation and before your period starts. It’s the stage in the cycle when the lining of the uterus gets thicker to prepare for possible pregnancy
MF – Male Factor
NK Cells – Natural Killer Cells – a type of white blood cell that lives in the immune system to help your system keep your body in balance. Ie reject infected cells, but equally they are really important in keeping a pregnancy healthy. Unfortunate term, it doesn’t mean they KILL everything off! And actually it’s a very contentious area of fertility treatment in terms of how your immunes contribute or don’t to the process.
OHSS – Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome – obviously you are stimulated in IVF with drugs, and overstimulated ovaries release chemicals into the blood stream. These fluids can cause problems in other areas of the body.
PCO – Polycystic Ovarian Disease
PCOS – Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
PGD – Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis – Once fertilised, the embryos develop for 5-6 days and then a number of cells are removed from each embryo. The genetic material (DNA or chromosomes) within these cells of the embryo is then tested for the genetic or chromosomal abnormality
PID – Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
POAS – Pee on a stick (ie home pregnancy test)
PUPO – Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise – again I had to look this one up! Doesn’t necessarily roll off the tongue for me.
TTC – Trying To Conceive – there it is!
So helpful for some, possibly a laugh for others, I am prepared to be mocked don’t worry.
Just thought it might be a good idea.
Anyway I’m off, because AF might be on her way in, as it’s nearly CD, and am keen to see what my NK cells are doing, and whether I need a good old dose of IVIG 😉 God knows what the DH is up to?!