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Assisted Reproductive Technologies: A Glossary

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Oocyte or Ovum—a human egg

Gametes—human egg and sperm

Zygote—a one-celled fertilized egg

Embryo—a multi-celled fertilized egg, up to 8 weeks of development

Fetus—a prenatal developing human from the 8th week of gestation until birth

Egg or Oocyte Donor[1]—a woman who allows her eggs to be used to create a child whom she does not intend to parent (or to be used in scientific research), whether or not in exchange for compensation

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)—the creation of an embryo by combining sperm and egg in a laboratory dish

Traditional Surrogate—a woman who agrees to be impregnated through artificial insemination and give birth to a child who will be

raised by others, whether or not in exchange for compensation

Gestational Surrogate—a woman who agrees to be impregnated with another woman’s fertilized egg and give birth to a child who will be raised by others, whether or not in exchange for compensation

Gestational Mother—a woman who carries and gives birth to a child to whom she is not genetically related but whom she intends to parent

Gestational Carrier—a woman who carries and gives birth to a child to whom she is not genetically related; this can be either a gestational surrogate or a gestational mother

Intended Parents (also Contracting or Commissioning Parents)—people who use assisted reproduction to create a child whom they intend to parent, whether or not they have a genetic or biological relationship to that child

Collaborative Reproduction—reproduction involving more than two biogenetic parents

[1] Some have noted that people who provide eggs or sperm for a fee are "vendors," not "donors." However, we use the term "donor" because of its current widespread use.

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