Fertilization: The fusion of a spermatozoon (SPERMATOZOA) with an OVUM thus resulting in the formation of a ZYGOTE.Fertilization in Vitro: An assisted reproductive technique that includes the direct handling and manipulation of oocytes and sperm to achieve fertilization in vitro.Spermatozoa: Mature male germ cells derived from SPERMATIDS. As spermatids move toward the lumen of the SEMINIFEROUS TUBULES, they undergo extensive structural changes including the loss of cytoplasm, condensation of CHROMATIN into the SPERM HEAD, formation of the ACROSOME cap, the SPERM MIDPIECE and the SPERM TAIL that provides motility.Sperm-Ovum Interactions: Interactive processes between the oocyte (OVUM) and the sperm (SPERMATOZOA) including sperm adhesion, ACROSOME REACTION, sperm penetration of the ZONA PELLUCIDA, and events leading to FERTILIZATION.Ovum: A mature haploid female germ cell extruded from the OVARY at OVULATION.Oocytes: Female germ cells derived from OOGONIA and termed OOCYTES when they enter MEIOSIS. The primary oocytes begin meiosis but are arrested at the diplotene state until OVULATION at PUBERTY to give rise to haploid secondary oocytes or ova (OVUM).Embryo Transfer: The transfer of mammalian embryos from an in vivo or in vitro environment to a suitable host to improve pregnancy or gestational outcome in human or animal. In human fertility treatment programs, preimplantation embryos ranging from the 4-cell stage to the blastocyst stage are transferred to the uterine cavity between 3-5 days after FERTILIZATION IN VITRO.Zygote: The fertilized OVUM resulting from the fusion of a male and a female gamete.Zona Pellucida: A tough transparent membrane surrounding the OVUM. It is penetrated by the sperm during FERTILIZATION.Sperm Injections, Intracytoplasmic: An assisted fertilization technique consisting of the microinjection of a single viable sperm into an extracted ovum. It is used principally to overcome low sperm count, low sperm motility, inability of sperm to penetrate the egg, or other conditions related to male infertility (INFERTILITY, MALE).Sperm Motility: Movement characteristics of SPERMATOZOA in a fresh specimen. It is measured as the percentage of sperms that are moving, and as the percentage of sperms with productive flagellar motion such as rapid, linear, and forward progression.Pregnancy: The status during which female mammals carry their developing young (EMBRYOS or FETUSES) in utero before birth, beginning from FERTILIZATION to BIRTH.Sea Urchins: Somewhat flattened, globular echinoderms, having thin, brittle shells of calcareous plates. They are useful models for studying FERTILIZATION and EMBRYO DEVELOPMENT.Pregnancy Rate: The ratio of the number of conceptions (CONCEPTION) including LIVE BIRTH; STILLBIRTH; and fetal losses, to the mean number of females of reproductive age in a population during a set time period.Acrosome: The cap-like structure covering the anterior portion of SPERM HEAD. Acrosome, derived from LYSOSOMES, is a membrane-bound organelle that contains the required hydrolytic and proteolytic enzymes necessary for sperm penetration of the egg in FERTILIZATION.Cleavage Stage, Ovum: The earliest developmental stage of a fertilized ovum (ZYGOTE) during which there are several mitotic divisions within the ZONA PELLUCIDA. Each cleavage or segmentation yields two BLASTOMERES of about half size of the parent cell. This cleavage stage generally covers the period up to 16-cell MORULA.Acrosome Reaction: Changes that occur to liberate the enzymes of the ACROSOME of a sperm (SPERMATOZOA). Acrosome reaction allows the sperm to penetrate the ZONA PELLUCIDA and enter the OVUM during FERTILIZATION.Fertilizers: Substances or mixtures that are added to the soil to supply nutrients or to make available nutrients already present in the soil, in order to increase plant growth and productivity.Sperm Capacitation: The structural and functional changes by which SPERMATOZOA become capable of oocyte FERTILIZATION. It normally requires exposing the sperm to the female genital tract for a period of time to bring about increased SPERM MOTILITY and the ACROSOME REACTION before fertilization in the FALLOPIAN TUBES can take place.Infertility, Female: Diminished or absent ability of a female to achieve conception.Embryonic Development: Morphological and physiological development of EMBRYOS.Cryopreservation: Preservation of cells, tissues, organs, or embryos by freezing. In histological preparations, cryopreservation or cryofixation is used to maintain the existing form, structure, and chemical composition of all the constituent elements of the specimens.Blastocyst: A post-MORULA preimplantation mammalian embryo that develops from a 32-cell stage into a fluid-filled hollow ball of over a hundred cells. A blastocyst has two distinctive tissues. The outer layer of trophoblasts gives rise to extra-embryonic tissues. The inner cell mass gives rise to the embryonic disc and eventual embryo proper.Ovulation Induction: Techniques for the artifical induction of ovulation, the rupture of the follicle and release of the ovum.Infertility, Male: The inability of the male to effect FERTILIZATION of an OVUM after a specified period of unprotected intercourse. Male sterility is permanent infertility.Infertility: Inability to reproduce after a specified period of unprotected intercourse. Reproductive sterility is permanent infertility.Egg Proteins: Proteins which are found in eggs (OVA) from any species.Microinjections: The injection of very small amounts of fluid, often with the aid of a microscope and microsyringes.Embryo Implantation: Endometrial implantation of EMBRYO, MAMMALIAN at the BLASTOCYST stage.Fertility: The capacity to conceive or to induce conception. It may refer to either the male or female.Vitelline Membrane: The plasma membrane of the egg.Embryonic and Fetal Development: Morphological and physiological development of EMBRYOS or FETUSES.Parthenogenesis: A unisexual reproduction without the fusion of a male and a female gamete (FERTILIZATION). In parthenogenesis, an individual is formed from an unfertilized OVUM that did not complete MEIOSIS. Parthenogenesis occurs in nature and can be artificially induced.Sperm Head: The anterior portion of the spermatozoon (SPERMATOZOA) that contains mainly the nucleus with highly compact CHROMATIN material.Pregnancy Outcome: Results of conception and ensuing pregnancy, including LIVE BIRTH; STILLBIRTH; SPONTANEOUS ABORTION; INDUCED ABORTION. The outcome may follow natural or artificial insemination or any of the various ASSISTED REPRODUCTIVE TECHNIQUES, such as EMBRYO TRANSFER or FERTILIZATION IN VITRO.Semen Preservation: The process by which semen is kept viable outside of the organism from which it was derived (i.e., kept from decay by means of a chemical agent, cooling, or a fluid substitute that mimics the natural state within the organism).Oocyte Retrieval: Procedures to obtain viable OOCYTES from the host. Oocytes most often are collected by needle aspiration from OVARIAN FOLLICLES before OVULATION.Oogenesis: The process of germ cell development in the female from the primordial germ cells through OOGONIA to the mature haploid ova (OVUM).Insemination, Artificial: Artificial introduction of SEMEN or SPERMATOZOA into the VAGINA to facilitate FERTILIZATION.Follicular Fluid: The fluid surrounding the OVUM and GRANULOSA CELLS in the Graafian follicle (OVARIAN FOLLICLE). The follicular fluid contains sex steroids, glycoprotein hormones, plasma proteins, mucopolysaccharides, and enzymes.Reproductive Techniques: Methods pertaining to the generation of new individuals, including techniques used in selective BREEDING, cloning (CLONING, ORGANISM), and assisted reproduction (REPRODUCTIVE TECHNIQUES, ASSISTED).Urochordata: A subphylum of chordates intermediate between the invertebrates and the true vertebrates. It includes the Ascidians.Starfish: Echinoderms having bodies of usually five radially disposed arms coalescing at the center.Embryo, Mammalian: The entity of a developing mammal (MAMMALS), generally from the cleavage of a ZYGOTE to the end of embryonic differentiation of basic structures. For the human embryo, this represents the first two months of intrauterine development preceding the stages of the FETUS.Fallopian Tubes: A pair of highly specialized muscular canals extending from the UTERUS to its corresponding OVARY. They provide the means for OVUM collection, and the site for the final maturation of gametes and FERTILIZATION. The fallopian tube consists of an interstitium, an isthmus, an ampulla, an infundibulum, and fimbriae. Its wall consists of three histologic layers: serous, muscular, and an internal mucosal layer lined with both ciliated and secretory cells.Meiosis: A type of CELL NUCLEUS division, occurring during maturation of the GERM CELLS. Two successive cell nucleus divisions following a single chromosome duplication (S PHASE) result in daughter cells with half the number of CHROMOSOMES as the parent cells.Ovule: The element in plants that contains the female GAMETOPHYTES.Ovarian Follicle: An OOCYTE-containing structure in the cortex of the OVARY. The oocyte is enclosed by a layer of GRANULOSA CELLS providing a nourishing microenvironment (FOLLICULAR FLUID). The number and size of follicles vary depending on the age and reproductive state of the female. The growing follicles are divided into five stages: primary, secondary, tertiary, Graafian, and atretic. Follicular growth and steroidogenesis depend on the presence of GONADOTROPINS.Menotropins: Extracts of urine from menopausal women that contain high concentrations of pituitary gonadotropins, FOLLICLE STIMULATING HORMONE and LUTEINIZING HORMONE. Menotropins are used to treat infertility. The FSH:LH ratio and degree of purity vary in different preparations.Ovulation: The discharge of an OVUM from a rupturing follicle in the OVARY.Chorionic Gonadotropin: A gonadotropic glycoprotein hormone produced primarily by the PLACENTA. Similar to the pituitary LUTEINIZING HORMONE in structure and function, chorionic gonadotropin is involved in maintaining the CORPUS LUTEUM during pregnancy. CG consists of two noncovalently linked subunits, alpha and beta. Within a species, the alpha subunit is virtually identical to the alpha subunits of the three pituitary glycoprotein hormones (TSH, LH, and FSH), but the beta subunit is unique and confers its biological specificity (CHORIONIC GONADOTROPIN, BETA SUBUNIT, HUMAN).Semen: The thick, yellowish-white, viscid fluid secretion of male reproductive organs discharged upon ejaculation. In addition to reproductive organ secretions, it contains SPERMATOZOA and their nutrient plasma.Oocyte Donation: Transfer of preovulatory oocytes from donor to a suitable host. Oocytes are collected, fertilized in vitro, and transferred to a host that can be human or animal.Cumulus Cells: The granulosa cells of the cumulus oophorus which surround the OVUM in the GRAAFIAN FOLLICLE. At OVULATION they are extruded with OVUM.Acrosin: A trypsin-like enzyme of spermatozoa which is not inhibited by alpha 1 antitrypsin.Reproductive Techniques, Assisted: Clinical and laboratory techniques used to enhance fertility in humans and animals.Embryo Culture Techniques: The technique of maintaining or growing mammalian EMBRYOS in vitro. This method offers an opportunity to observe EMBRYONIC DEVELOPMENT; METABOLISM; and susceptibility to TERATOGENS.Sperm Count: A count of SPERM in the ejaculum, expressed as number per milliliter.Sperm Transport: Passive or active movement of SPERMATOZOA from the testicular SEMINIFEROUS TUBULES through the male reproductive tract as well as within the female reproductive tract.Insemination: The deposit of SEMEN or SPERMATOZOA into the VAGINA to facilitate FERTILIZATION.Echinodermata: A phylum of the most familiar marine invertebrates. Its class Stelleroidea contains two subclasses, the Asteroidea (the STARFISH or sea stars) and the Ophiuroidea (the brittle stars, also called basket stars and serpent stars). There are 1500 described species of STARFISH found throughout the world. The second class, Echinoidea, contains about 950 species of SEA URCHINS, heart urchins, and sand dollars. A third class, Holothuroidea, comprises about 900 echinoderms known as SEA CUCUMBERS. Echinoderms are used extensively in biological research. (From Barnes, Invertebrate Zoology, 5th ed, pp773-826)Superovulation: Occurrence or induction of release of more ova than are normally released at the same time in a given species. The term applies to both animals and humans.In Vitro Oocyte Maturation Techniques: Methods used to induce premature oocytes, that are maintained in tissue culture, to progress through developmental stages including to a stage that is competent to undergo FERTILIZATION.Ovary: The reproductive organ (GONADS) in female animals. In vertebrates, the ovary contains two functional parts: the OVARIAN FOLLICLE for the production of female germ cells (OOGENESIS); and the endocrine cells (GRANULOSA CELLS; THECA CELLS; and LUTEAL CELLS) for the production of ESTROGENS and PROGESTERONE.Live Birth: The event that a FETUS is born alive with heartbeats or RESPIRATION regardless of GESTATIONAL AGE. Such liveborn is called a newborn infant (INFANT, NEWBORN).Reproduction: The total process by which organisms produce offspring. (Stedman, 25th ed)Follicle Stimulating Hormone: A major gonadotropin secreted by the adenohypophysis (PITUITARY GLAND, ANTERIOR). Follicle-stimulating hormone stimulates GAMETOGENESIS and the supporting cells such as the ovarian GRANULOSA CELLS, the testicular SERTOLI CELLS, and LEYDIG CELLS. FSH consists of two noncovalently linked subunits, alpha and beta. Within a species, the alpha subunit is common in the three pituitary glycoprotein hormones (TSH, LH, and FSH), but the beta subunit is unique and confers its biological specificity.Epididymis: The convoluted cordlike structure attached to the posterior of the TESTIS. Epididymis consists of the head (caput), the body (corpus), and the tail (cauda). A network of ducts leaving the testis joins into a common epididymal tubule proper which provides the transport, storage, and maturation of SPERMATOZOA.Oligospermia: A condition of suboptimal concentration of SPERMATOZOA in the ejaculated SEMEN to ensure successful FERTILIZATION of an OVUM. In humans, oligospermia is defined as a sperm count below 20 million per milliliter semen.Pollen Tube: A growth from a pollen grain down into the flower style which allows two sperm to pass, one to the ovum within the ovule, and the other to the central cell of the ovule to produce endosperm of SEEDS.Micromanipulation: The performance of dissections, injections, surgery, etc., by the use of micromanipulators (attachments to a microscope) that manipulate tiny instruments.Pregnancy, Multiple: The condition of carrying two or more FETUSES simultaneously.Fallopian Tube Diseases: Diseases involving the FALLOPIAN TUBES including neoplasms (FALLOPIAN TUBE NEOPLASMS); SALPINGITIS; tubo-ovarian abscess; and blockage.Embryo, Nonmammalian: The developmental entity of a fertilized egg (ZYGOTE) in animal species other than MAMMALS. For chickens, use CHICK EMBRYO.Sperm Tail: The posterior filiform portion of the spermatozoon (SPERMATOZOA) that provides sperm motility.Contraception, Immunologic: Contraceptive methods based on immunological processes and techniques, such as the use of CONTRACEPTIVE VACCINES.Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome: A complication of OVULATION INDUCTION in infertility treatment. It is graded by the severity of symptoms which include OVARY enlargement, multiple OVARIAN FOLLICLES; OVARIAN CYSTS; ASCITES; and generalized EDEMA. The full-blown syndrome may lead to RENAL FAILURE, respiratory distress, and even DEATH. Increased capillary permeability is caused by the vasoactive substances, such as VASCULAR ENDOTHELIAL GROWTH FACTORS, secreted by the overly-stimulated OVARIES.Blastomeres: Undifferentiated cells resulting from cleavage of a fertilized egg (ZYGOTE). Inside the intact ZONA PELLUCIDA, each cleavage yields two blastomeres of about half size of the parent cell. Up to the 8-cell stage, all of the blastomeres are totipotent. The 16-cell MORULA contains outer cells and inner cells.Ejaculation: The emission of SEMEN to the exterior, resulting from the contraction of muscles surrounding the male internal urogenital ducts.Metaphase: The phase of cell nucleus division following PROMETAPHASE, in which the CHROMOSOMES line up across the equatorial plane of the SPINDLE APPARATUS prior to separation.Germ Cells, Plant: The reproductive cells of plants.Spermatids: Male germ cells derived from the haploid secondary SPERMATOCYTES. Without further division, spermatids undergo structural changes and give rise to SPERMATOZOA.Testis: The male gonad containing two functional parts: the SEMINIFEROUS TUBULES for the production and transport of male germ cells (SPERMATOGENESIS) and the interstitial compartment containing LEYDIG CELLS that produce ANDROGENS.Fertility Agents, Female: Compounds which increase the capacity to conceive in females.Cryoprotective Agents: Substances that provide protection against the harmful effects of freezing temperatures.Cytoplasm: The part of a cell that contains the CYTOSOL and small structures excluding the CELL NUCLEUS; MITOCHONDRIA; and large VACUOLES. (Glick, Glossary of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 1990)Cattle: Domesticated bovine animals of the genus Bos, usually kept on a farm or ranch and used for the production of meat or dairy products or for heavy labor.Seminal Plasma Proteins: Proteins found in SEMEN. Major seminal plasma proteins are secretory proteins from the male sex accessory glands, such as the SEMINAL VESICLES and the PROSTATE. They include the seminal vesicle-specific antigen, an ejaculate clotting protein; and the PROSTATE-SPECIFIC ANTIGEN, a protease and an esterase.Pollen: The fertilizing element of plants that contains the male GAMETOPHYTES.Time Factors: Elements of limited time intervals, contributing to particular results or situations.Calcium: A basic element found in nearly all organized tissues. It is a member of the alkaline earth family of metals with the atomic symbol Ca, atomic number 20, and atomic weight 40. Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and combines with phosphorus to form calcium phosphate in the bones and teeth. It is essential for the normal functioning of nerves and muscles and plays a role in blood coagulation (as factor IV) and in many enzymatic processes.Sperm Maturation: The maturing process of SPERMATOZOA after leaving the testicular SEMINIFEROUS TUBULES. Maturation in SPERM MOTILITY and FERTILITY takes place in the EPIDIDYMIS as the sperm migrate from caput epididymis to cauda epididymis.Bufo arenarum: A species of the true toads, Bufonidae, found in South America.Seeds: The encapsulated embryos of flowering plants. They are used as is or for animal feed because of the high content of concentrated nutrients like starches, proteins, and fats. Rapeseed, cottonseed, and sunflower seed are also produced for the oils (fats) they yield.Abortion, Spontaneous: Expulsion of the product of FERTILIZATION before completing the term of GESTATION and without deliberate interference.Semen Analysis: The quality of SEMEN, an indicator of male fertility, can be determined by semen volume, pH, sperm concentration (SPERM COUNT), total sperm number, sperm viability, sperm vigor (SPERM MOTILITY), normal sperm morphology, ACROSOME integrity, and the concentration of WHITE BLOOD CELLS.Surrogate Mothers: Women who allow themselves to be impregnated with the understanding that the offspring are to be given over to the parents who have commissioned the surrogate.Morula: An early embryo that is a compact mass of about 16 BLASTOMERES. It resembles a cluster of mulberries with two types of cells, outer cells and inner cells. Morula is the stage before BLASTULA in non-mammalian animals or a BLASTOCYST in mammals.Gonadotropins: Hormones that stimulate gonadal functions such as GAMETOGENESIS and sex steroid hormone production in the OVARY and the TESTIS. Major gonadotropins are glycoproteins produced primarily by the adenohypophysis (GONADOTROPINS, PITUITARY) and the placenta (CHORIONIC GONADOTROPIN). In some species, pituitary PROLACTIN and PLACENTAL LACTOGEN exert some luteotropic activities.Sperm Retrieval: Procedures to obtain viable sperm from the male reproductive tract, including the TESTES, the EPIDIDYMIS, or the VAS DEFERENS.Suction: The removal of secretions, gas or fluid from hollow or tubular organs or cavities by means of a tube and a device that acts on negative pressure.Sexual Behavior, Animal: Sexual activities of animals.Swine: Any of various animals that constitute the family Suidae and comprise stout-bodied, short-legged omnivorous mammals with thick skin, usually covered with coarse bristles, a rather long mobile snout, and small tail. Included are the genera Babyrousa, Phacochoerus (wart hogs), and Sus, the latter containing the domestic pig (see SUS SCROFA).Spermatogenesis: The process of germ cell development in the male from the primordial germ cells, through SPERMATOGONIA; SPERMATOCYTES; SPERMATIDS; to the mature haploid SPERMATOZOA.Zebrafish: An exotic species of the family CYPRINIDAE, originally from Asia, that has been introduced in North America. They are used in embryological studies and to study the effects of certain chemicals on development.Buserelin: A potent synthetic analog of GONADOTROPIN-RELEASING HORMONE with D-serine substitution at residue 6, glycine10 deletion, and other modifications.Culture Media: Any liquid or solid preparation made specifically for the growth, storage, or transport of microorganisms or other types of cells. The variety of media that exist allow for the culturing of specific microorganisms and cell types, such as differential media, selective media, test media, and defined media. Solid media consist of liquid media that have been solidified with an agent such as AGAR or GELATIN.Nitrogen: An element with the atomic symbol N, atomic number 7, and atomic weight [14.00643; 14.00728]. Nitrogen exists as a diatomic gas and makes up about 78% of the earth's atmosphere by volume. It is a constituent of proteins and nucleic acids and found in all living cells.Fetal Viability: The potential of the FETUS to survive outside the UTERUS after birth, natural or induced. Fetal viability depends largely on the FETAL ORGAN MATURITY, and environmental conditions.Vitrification: The transformation of a liquid to a glassy solid i.e., without the formation of crystals during the cooling process.Cell Nucleus: Within a eukaryotic cell, a membrane-limited body which contains chromosomes and one or more nucleoli (CELL NUCLEOLUS). The nuclear membrane consists of a double unit-type membrane which is perforated by a number of pores; the outermost membrane is continuous with the ENDOPLASMIC RETICULUM. A cell may contain more than one nucleus. (From Singleton & Sainsbury, Dictionary of Microbiology and Molecular Biology, 2d ed)Ionophores: Chemical agents that increase the permeability of biological or artificial lipid membranes to specific ions. Most ionophores are relatively small organic molecules that act as mobile carriers within membranes or coalesce to form ion permeable channels across membranes. Many are antibiotics, and many act as uncoupling agents by short-circuiting the proton gradient across mitochondrial membranes.Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone: A decapeptide that stimulates the synthesis and secretion of both pituitary gonadotropins, LUTEINIZING HORMONE and FOLLICLE STIMULATING HORMONE. GnRH is produced by neurons in the septum PREOPTIC AREA of the HYPOTHALAMUS and released into the pituitary portal blood, leading to stimulation of GONADOTROPHS in the ANTERIOR PITUITARY GLAND.Estradiol: The 17-beta-isomer of estradiol, an aromatized C18 steroid with hydroxyl group at 3-beta- and 17-beta-position. Estradiol-17-beta is the most potent form of mammalian estrogenic steroids.Protamines: A group of simple proteins that yield basic amino acids on hydrolysis and that occur combined with nucleic acid in the sperm of fish. Protamines contain very few kinds of amino acids. Protamine sulfate combines with heparin to form a stable inactive complex; it is used to neutralize the anticoagulant action of heparin in the treatment of heparin overdose. (From Merck Index, 11th ed; Martindale, The Extra Pharmacopoeia, 30th ed, p692)Oviducts: Ducts that serve exclusively for the passage of eggs from the ovaries to the exterior of the body. In non-mammals, they are termed oviducts. In mammals, they are highly specialized and known as FALLOPIAN TUBES.Molecular Sequence Data: Descriptions of specific amino acid, carbohydrate, or nucleotide sequences which have appeared in the published literature and/or are deposited in and maintained by databanks such as GENBANK, European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), National Biomedical Research Foundation (NBRF), or other sequence repositories.Calcium Signaling: Signal transduction mechanisms whereby calcium mobilization (from outside the cell or from intracellular storage pools) to the cytoplasm is triggered by external stimuli. Calcium signals are often seen to propagate as waves, oscillations, spikes, sparks, or puffs. The calcium acts as an intracellular messenger by activating calcium-responsive proteins.Progesterone: The major progestational steroid that is secreted primarily by the CORPUS LUTEUM and the PLACENTA. Progesterone acts on the UTERUS, the MAMMARY GLANDS and the BRAIN. It is required in EMBRYO IMPLANTATION; PREGNANCY maintenance, and the development of mammary tissue for MILK production. Progesterone, converted from PREGNENOLONE, also serves as an intermediate in the biosynthesis of GONADAL STEROID HORMONES and adrenal CORTICOSTEROIDS.Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental: Any of the processes by which nuclear, cytoplasmic, or intercellular factors influence the differential control of gene action during the developmental stages of an organism.Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer: A technique that came into use in the mid-1980's for assisted conception in infertile women with normal fallopian tubes. The protocol consists of hormonal stimulation of the ovaries, followed by laparoscopic follicular aspiration of oocytes, and then the transfer of sperm and oocytes by catheterization into the fallopian tubes.Lytechinus: A genus of SEA URCHINS in the family Toxopneustidae possessing trigeminate ambulacral plating.Gametogenesis: The process of germ cell development from the primordial GERM CELLS to the mature haploid GAMETES: ova in the female (OOGENESIS) or sperm in the male (SPERMATOGENESIS).Nafarelin: A potent synthetic agonist of GONADOTROPIN-RELEASING HORMONE with 3-(2-naphthyl)-D-alanine substitution at residue 6. Nafarelin has been used in the treatments of central PRECOCIOUS PUBERTY and ENDOMETRIOSIS.Germ Cells: The reproductive cells in multicellular organisms at various stages during GAMETOGENESIS.Hyaluronoglucosaminidase: An enzyme that catalyzes the random hydrolysis of 1,4-linkages between N-acetyl-beta-D-glucosamine and D-glucuronate residues in hyaluronate. (From Enzyme Nomenclature, 1992) There has been use as ANTINEOPLASTIC AGENTS to limit NEOPLASM METASTASIS.Mice, Inbred Strains: Genetically identical individuals developed from brother and sister matings which have been carried out for twenty or more generations, or by parent x offspring matings carried out with certain restrictions. All animals within an inbred strain trace back to a common ancestor in the twentieth generation.Maternal Age: The age of the mother in PREGNANCY.Preimplantation Diagnosis: Determination of the nature of a pathological condition or disease in the OVUM; ZYGOTE; or BLASTOCYST prior to implantation. CYTOGENETIC ANALYSIS is performed to determine the presence or absence of genetic disease.Annelida: A phylum of metazoan invertebrates comprising the segmented worms, and including marine annelids (POLYCHAETA), freshwater annelids, earthworms (OLIGOCHAETA), and LEECHES. Only the leeches are of medical interest. (Dorland, 27th ed)Mice, Inbred ICRGonadotropins, Equine: Gonadotropins secreted by the pituitary or the placenta in horses. This term generally refers to the gonadotropins found in the pregnant mare serum, a rich source of equine CHORIONIC GONADOTROPIN; LUTEINIZING HORMONE; and FOLLICLE STIMULATING HORMONE. Unlike that in humans, the equine LUTEINIZING HORMONE, BETA SUBUNIT is identical to the equine choronic gonadotropin, beta. Equine gonadotropins prepared from pregnant mare serum are used in reproductive studies.Chromomycin A3: Glycosidic antibiotic from Streptomyces griseus used as a fluorescent stain of DNA and as an antineoplastic agent.Endosperm: Nutritive tissue of the seeds of flowering plants that surrounds the EMBRYOS. It is produced by a parallel process of fertilization in which a second male gamete from the pollen grain fuses with two female nuclei within the embryo sac. The endosperm varies in ploidy and contains reserves of starch, oils, and proteins, making it an important source of human nutrition.Phaeophyta: A division of predominantly marine EUKARYOTA, commonly known as brown algae, having CHROMATOPHORES containing carotenoid PIGMENTS, BIOLOGICAL. ALGINATES and phlorotannins occur widely in all major orders. They are considered the most highly evolved algae because of their well-developed multicellular organization and structural complexity.Microscopy, Confocal: A light microscopic technique in which only a small spot is illuminated and observed at a time. An image is constructed through point-by-point scanning of the field in this manner. Light sources may be conventional or laser, and fluorescence or transmitted observations are possible.Human Characteristics: The fundamental dispositions and traits of humans. (Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 10th ed)Flowers: The reproductive organs of plants.Azoospermia: A condition of having no sperm present in the ejaculate (SEMEN).Culture Techniques: Methods of maintaining or growing biological materials in controlled laboratory conditions. These include the cultures of CELLS; TISSUES; organs; or embryo in vitro. Both animal and plant tissues may be cultured by a variety of methods. Cultures may derive from normal or abnormal tissues, and consist of a single cell type or mixed cell types.Beginning of Human Life: The point at which religious ensoulment or PERSONHOOD is considered to begin.Follicle Stimulating Hormone, Human: A major gonadotropin secreted by the human adenohypophysis (PITUITARY GLAND, ANTERIOR). Follicle-stimulating hormone stimulates GAMETOGENESIS and the supporting cells such as the ovarian GRANULOSA CELLS, the testicular SERTOLI CELLS, and the LEYDIG CELLS. FSH consists of two noncovalently linked subunits, alpha and beta. The alpha subunit is common in the three human pituitary glycoprotein hormones (TSH, LH, and FSH), but the beta subunit is unique and confers its biological specificity.Life: The state that distinguishes organisms from inorganic matter, manifested by growth, metabolism, reproduction, and adaptation. It includes the course of existence, the sum of experiences, the mode of existing, or the fact of being. Over the centuries inquiries into the nature of life have crossed the boundaries from philosophy to biology, forensic medicine, anthropology, etc., in creative as well as scientific literature. (Random House Unabridged Dictionary, 2d ed; Dr. James H. Cassedy, NLM History of Medicine Division)Twins: Two individuals derived from two FETUSES that were fertilized at or about the same time, developed in the UTERUS simultaneously, and born to the same mother. Twins are either monozygotic (TWINS, MONOZYGOTIC) or dizygotic (TWINS, DIZYGOTIC).Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer: A technique in assisted reproduction (REPRODUCTIVE TECHNIQUES, ASSISTED) consisting of hormonal stimulation of the ovaries, follicular aspiration of preovulatory oocytes, in-vitro fertilization, and intrafallopian transfer of zygotes at the pronuclear stage (before cleavage).Sex Preselection: Methods for controlling genetic SEX of offspring.Pollination: The transfer of POLLEN grains (male gametes) to the plant ovule (female gamete).Membrane Glycoproteins: Glycoproteins found on the membrane or surface of cells.Pregnancy, Ectopic: A potentially life-threatening condition in which EMBRYO IMPLANTATION occurs outside the cavity of the UTERUS. Most ectopic pregnancies (>96%) occur in the FALLOPIAN TUBES, known as TUBAL PREGNANCY. They can be in other locations, such as UTERINE CERVIX; OVARY; and abdominal cavity (PREGNANCY, ABDOMINAL).Leuprolide: A potent synthetic long-acting agonist of GONADOTROPIN-RELEASING HORMONE that regulates the synthesis and release of pituitary gonadotropins, LUTEINIZING HORMONE and FOLLICLE STIMULATING HORMONE.Follicular Phase: The period of the MENSTRUAL CYCLE representing follicular growth, increase in ovarian estrogen (ESTROGENS) production, and epithelial proliferation of the ENDOMETRIUM. Follicular phase begins with the onset of MENSTRUATION and ends with OVULATION.Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-mos: Cellular proteins encoded by the c-mos genes (GENES, MOS). They function in the cell cycle to maintain MATURATION PROMOTING FACTOR in the active state and have protein-serine/threonine kinase activity. Oncogenic transformation can take place when c-mos proteins are expressed at the wrong time.Amino Acid Sequence: The order of amino acids as they occur in a polypeptide chain. This is referred to as the primary structure of proteins. It is of fundamental importance in determining PROTEIN CONFORMATION.Copulation: Sexual union of a male and a female in non-human species.Ectogenesis: Embryonic and fetal development that takes place in an artificial environment in vitro.Sperm Agglutination: Agglutination of spermatozoa by antibodies or autoantibodies.Exocytosis: Cellular release of material within membrane-limited vesicles by fusion of the vesicles with the CELL MEMBRANE.Microscopy, Fluorescence: Microscopy of specimens stained with fluorescent dye (usually fluorescein isothiocyanate) or of naturally fluorescent materials, which emit light when exposed to ultraviolet or blue light. Immunofluorescence microscopy utilizes antibodies that are labeled with fluorescent dye.Insemination, Artificial, Homologous: Human artificial insemination in which the husband's semen is used.Birth Rate: The number of births in a given population per year or other unit of time.Models, Biological: Theoretical representations that simulate the behavior or activity of biological processes or diseases. For disease models in living animals, DISEASE MODELS, ANIMAL is available. Biological models include the use of mathematical equations, computers, and other electronic equipment.Polar Bodies: Minute cells produced during development of an OOCYTE as it undergoes MEIOSIS. A polar body contains one of the nuclei derived from the first or second meiotic CELL DIVISION. Polar bodies have practically no CYTOPLASM. They are eventually discarded by the oocyte. (from King & Stansfield, A Dictionary of Genetics, 4th ed)Species Specificity: The restriction of a characteristic behavior, anatomical structure or physical system, such as immune response; metabolic response, or gene or gene variant to the members of one species. It refers to that property which differentiates one species from another but it is also used for phylogenetic levels higher or lower than the species.Receptors, Cell Surface: Cell surface proteins that bind signalling molecules external to the cell with high affinity and convert this extracellular event into one or more intracellular signals that alter the behavior of the target cell (From Alberts, Molecular Biology of the Cell, 2nd ed, pp693-5). Cell surface receptors, unlike enzymes, do not chemically alter their ligands.Gastropoda: A class in the phylum MOLLUSCA comprised of SNAILS and slugs. The former have coiled external shells and the latter usually lack shells.Freezing: Liquids transforming into solids by the removal of heat.Retrospective Studies: Studies used to test etiologic hypotheses in which inferences about an exposure to putative causal factors are derived from data relating to characteristics of persons under study or to events or experiences in their past. The essential feature is that some of the persons under study have the disease or outcome of interest and their characteristics are compared with those of unaffected persons.Mice, Inbred CBAInsemination, Artificial, Heterologous: Human artificial insemination in which the semen used is that of a man other than the woman's husband.Mammals: Warm-blooded vertebrate animals belonging to the class Mammalia, including all that possess hair and suckle their young.Xenopus laevis: The commonest and widest ranging species of the clawed "frog" (Xenopus) in Africa. This species is used extensively in research. There is now a significant population in California derived from escaped laboratory animals.Crosses, Genetic: Deliberate breeding of two different individuals that results in offspring that carry part of the genetic material of each parent. The parent organisms must be genetically compatible and may be from different varieties or closely related species.Nuclear Transfer Techniques: Methods of implanting a CELL NUCLEUS from a donor cell into an enucleated acceptor cell.Inositol 1,4,5-Trisphosphate: Intracellular messenger formed by the action of phospholipase C on phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate, which is one of the phospholipids that make up the cell membrane. Inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate is released into the cytoplasm where it releases calcium ions from internal stores within the cell's endoplasmic reticulum. These calcium ions stimulate the activity of B kinase or calmodulin.Phosphoinositide Phospholipase C: A type C phospholipase with specificity towards PHOSPHATIDYLINOSITOLS that contain INOSITOL 1,4,5-TRISPHOSPHATE. Many of the enzymes listed under this classification are involved in intracellular signaling.Endometriosis: A condition in which functional endometrial tissue is present outside the UTERUS. It is often confined to the PELVIS involving the OVARY, the ligaments, cul-de-sac, and the uterovesical peritoneum.Cells, Cultured: Cells propagated in vitro in special media conducive to their growth. Cultured cells are used to study developmental, morphologic, metabolic, physiologic, and genetic processes, among others.Fluorescent Dyes: Agents that emit light after excitation by light. The wave length of the emitted light is usually longer than that of the incident light. Fluorochromes are substances that cause fluorescence in other substances, i.e., dyes used to mark or label other compounds with fluorescent tags.Luteinizing Hormone: A major gonadotropin secreted by the adenohypophysis (PITUITARY GLAND, ANTERIOR). Luteinizing hormone regulates steroid production by the interstitial cells of the TESTIS and the OVARY. The preovulatory LUTEINIZING HORMONE surge in females induces OVULATION, and subsequent LUTEINIZATION of the follicle. LUTEINIZING HORMONE consists of two noncovalently linked subunits, alpha and beta. Within a species, the alpha subunit is common in the three pituitary glycoprotein hormones (TSH, LH and FSH), but the beta subunit is unique and confers its biological specificity.Triplets: Three individuals derived from three FETUSES that were fertilized at or about the same time, developed in the UTERUS simultaneously, and born to the same mother.Calcium Ionophores: Chemical agents that increase the permeability of CELL MEMBRANES to CALCIUM ions.Luteal Phase: The period in the MENSTRUAL CYCLE that follows OVULATION, characterized by the development of CORPUS LUTEUM, increase in PROGESTERONE production by the OVARY and secretion by the glandular epithelium of the ENDOMETRIUM. The luteal phase begins with ovulation and ends with the onset of MENSTRUATION.Arabidopsis: A plant genus of the family BRASSICACEAE that contains ARABIDOPSIS PROTEINS and MADS DOMAIN PROTEINS. The species A. thaliana is used for experiments in classical plant genetics as well as molecular genetic studies in plant physiology, biochemistry, and development.Aneuploidy: The chromosomal constitution of cells which deviate from the normal by the addition or subtraction of CHROMOSOMES, chromosome pairs, or chromosome fragments. In a normally diploid cell (DIPLOIDY) the loss of a chromosome pair is termed nullisomy (symbol: 2N-2), the loss of a single chromosome is MONOSOMY (symbol: 2N-1), the addition of a chromosome pair is tetrasomy (symbol: 2N+2), the addition of a single chromosome is TRISOMY (symbol: 2N+1).Triptorelin Pamoate: A potent synthetic long-acting agonist of GONADOTROPIN-RELEASING HORMONE with D-tryptophan substitution at residue 6.Cell Membrane: The lipid- and protein-containing, selectively permeable membrane that surrounds the cytoplasm in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.Soil: The unconsolidated mineral or organic matter on the surface of the earth that serves as a natural medium for the growth of land plants.Larva: Wormlike or grublike stage, following the egg in the life cycle of insects, worms, and other metamorphosing animals.Single Embryo Transfer: The techniques used to select and/or place only one embryo from FERTILIZATION IN VITRO into the uterine cavity to establish a singleton pregnancy.RNA, Messenger: RNA sequences that serve as templates for protein synthesis. Bacterial mRNAs are generally primary transcripts in that they do not require post-transcriptional processing. Eukaryotic mRNA is synthesized in the nucleus and must be exported to the cytoplasm for translation. Most eukaryotic mRNAs have a sequence of polyadenylic acid at the 3' end, referred to as the poly(A) tail. The function of this tail is not known for certain, but it may play a role in the export of mature mRNA from the nucleus as well as in helping stabilize some mRNA molecules by retarding their degradation in the cytoplasm.Povidone: A polyvinyl polymer of variable molecular weight; used as suspending and dispersing agent and vehicle for pharmaceuticals; also used as blood volume expander.Embryo Research: Experimentation on, or using the organs or tissues from, a human or other mammalian conceptus during the prenatal stage of development that is characterized by rapid morphological changes and the differentiation of basic structures. In humans, this includes the period from the time of fertilization to the end of the eighth week after fertilization.Chromatin: The material of CHROMOSOMES. It is a complex of DNA; HISTONES; and nonhistone proteins (CHROMOSOMAL PROTEINS, NON-HISTONE) found within the nucleus of a cell.Paspalum: A plant genus of the family POACEAE that is used for forage.Bivalvia: A class in the phylum MOLLUSCA comprised of mussels; clams; OYSTERS; COCKLES; and SCALLOPS. They are characterized by a bilaterally symmetrical hinged shell and a muscular foot used for burrowing and anchoring.Calcimycin: An ionophorous, polyether antibiotic from Streptomyces chartreusensis. It binds and transports CALCIUM and other divalent cations across membranes and uncouples oxidative phosphorylation while inhibiting ATPase of rat liver mitochondria. The substance is used mostly as a biochemical tool to study the role of divalent cations in various biological systems.Personhood: The state or condition of being a human individual accorded moral and/or legal rights. Criteria to be used to determine this status are subject to debate, and range from the requirement of simply being a human organism to such requirements as that the individual be self-aware and capable of rational thought and moral agency.Thimerosal: An ethylmercury-sulfidobenzoate that has been used as a preservative in VACCINES; ANTIVENINS; and OINTMENTS. It was formerly used as a topical antiseptic. It degrades to ethylmercury and thiosalicylate.Caenorhabditis elegans: A species of nematode that is widely used in biological, biochemical, and genetic studies.Body Fluids: Liquid components of living organisms.Treatment Outcome: Evaluation undertaken to assess the results or consequences of management and procedures used in combating disease in order to determine the efficacy, effectiveness, safety, and practicability of these interventions in individual cases or series.