A Notes on Reproductive Technology Terms

Against the Current, No. 37, March/April 1992

Varda Burstyn

A BRIEF LIST of some of the medical terms in this interview, and their meanings, is as follows.

Petri dish—A standard item of scientific equipment, a shallow glass dish where artificial fertilization takes place.

In Vitro Fertilization (M)–Specifically, a fertilization process in which sperm and egg are brought together in a petri dish More generally, a cluster of technologies in “medically aided procreation (MAP).” These involve procedure sat all stages, including drug-induced ovulation induction, egg retrieval, artificial fertilization, sperm selection and washing, and embryo transfer.

Ova stimulation—pharmaceutical endocrinological (Le. hormonal) bombardment of the ovaries in order to pm-duce multiple eggs.

Alfafetaiprotein Testing and Chorionic Villus Sampling—Tests of tissue from the fetus to determine its genetic predispositions. Chorionic villus sampling is being investigated as an alternative to amniocentesis (extraction and testing of fetal membrane fluid) because it can be done at the end of the first trimester. Alfafetalprotein testing, though used fairly widely, is not considered very reliable.

Preimplantation diagnosis—Biopsy of a six- or eight-cell embryo in order to screen for genetic predispositions. This takes place prior to implantation of the embryo in the maternal uterus, and requires 1W in order to produce the embryo outside the maternal body for diagnosis.

March-April 1992, ATC 37