Glossary of Terms

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A Testicular Sperm Extraction (TESE) is a minor surgical procedure usually performed under local anesthesia, in which the doctor removes a piece of testicular tissue to collect sperm. This sperm can then be injected into the female partner's eggs (see ICSI). Usually only low numbers of sperm are obtained and are available only for IVF with ICSI on the same day as the TESE.


Two oval glands present in the scrotum that are responsible for producing the male gametes (sperm). The testicles also secrete many of the male hormones, such as testosterone.

Testicular Mapping

A diagnostic procedure to identify "pockets" of isolated sperm production in the testicles of men who have very low sperm production. Once these areas are located a TESE procedure can be done to find the sperm for IVF and sperm injection (see "ICSI").


The main hormone secreted by the testicles. The effects of testosterone—such as beard growth, an increase in muscle mass, a deepening voice and sperm maturation—can be easily recognized in men.

Third Party Parenting

The involvement of a third person (a person outside of the couple) to create a baby. There are several ways to participate in third party parenting: egg donation, sperm donation, and/or IVF with a gestational carrier. 


A hormone secreted by the pituitary gland that controls the thyroid gland. Elevated levels imply abnormally low thyroid function. The level of this hormone in blood is checked in most women with infertility because certain thyroid diseases may be associated with infertility.