Zona Pellucida: A tough transparent membrane surrounding the OVUM. It is penetrated by the sperm during FERTILIZATION.Egg Proteins: Proteins which are found in eggs (OVA) from any species.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.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.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.Acrosin: A trypsin-like enzyme of spermatozoa which is not inhibited by alpha 1 antitrypsin.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.Contraception, Immunologic: Contraceptive methods based on immunological processes and techniques, such as the use of CONTRACEPTIVE VACCINES.Ovum: A mature haploid female germ cell extruded from the OVARY at OVULATION.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.Fertilization: The fusion of a spermatozoon (SPERMATOZOA) with an OVUM thus resulting in the formation of a ZYGOTE.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).Fertilization in Vitro: An assisted reproductive technique that includes the direct handling and manipulation of oocytes and sperm to achieve fertilization in vitro.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.Membrane Glycoproteins: Glycoproteins found on the membrane or surface of cells.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.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.Micromanipulation: The performance of dissections, injections, surgery, etc., by the use of micromanipulators (attachments to a microscope) that manipulate tiny instruments.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).Vitelline Membrane: The plasma membrane of the egg.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.Macaca radiata: A species of macaque monkey that mainly inhabits the forest of southern India. They are also called bonnet macaques or bonnet monkeys.Zona Reticularis: The inner zone of the adrenal cortex. This zone produces the enzymes that convert PREGNENOLONE, a 21-carbon steroid, to 19-carbon steroids (DEHYDROEPIANDROSTERONE; and ANDROSTENEDIONE) via 17-ALPHA-HYDROXYPREGNENOLONE.Zona Fasciculata: The wide middle zone of the adrenal cortex. This zone produces a series of enzymes that convert PREGNENOLONE to cortisol (HYDROCORTISONE) via 17-ALPHA-HYDROXYPROGESTERONE.Oophoritis: Inflammation of the OVARY, generally caused by an ascending infection of organisms from the endocervix.Vaccines, Contraceptive: Vaccines or candidate vaccines used to prevent conception.Oogenesis: The process of germ cell development in the female from the primordial germ cells through OOGONIA to the mature haploid ova (OVUM).Embryo Implantation: Endometrial implantation of EMBRYO, MAMMALIAN at the BLASTOCYST stage.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.Zona Glomerulosa: The narrow subcapsular outer zone of the adrenal cortex. This zone produces a series of enzymes that convert PREGNENOLONE to ALDOSTERONE. The final steps involve three successive oxidations by CYTOCHROME P-450 CYP11B2.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.Pronase: A proteolytic enzyme obtained from Streptomyces griseus.Glycoproteins: Conjugated protein-carbohydrate compounds including mucins, mucoid, and amyloid glycoproteins.Zygote: The fertilized OVUM resulting from the fusion of a male and a female gamete.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.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.Sperm Head: The anterior portion of the spermatozoon (SPERMATOZOA) that contains mainly the nucleus with highly compact CHROMATIN material.Fertility: The capacity to conceive or to induce conception. It may refer to either the male or female.Embryonic and Fetal Development: Morphological and physiological development of EMBRYOS or FETUSES.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.Prenatal Injuries: Damages to the EMBRYO, MAMMALIAN or the FETUS before BIRTH. Damages can be caused by any factors including biological, chemical, or physical.Peperomia: A plant genus of the family PIPERACEAE. Members contain prenylated quinones.Pregnancy: The status during which female mammals carry their developing young (EMBRYOS or FETUSES) in utero before birth, beginning from FERTILIZATION to BIRTH.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.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.Wheat Germ Agglutinins: Lectins purified from the germinating seeds of common wheat (Triticum vulgare); these bind to certain carbohydrate moieties on cell surface glycoproteins and are used to identify certain cell populations and inhibit or promote some immunological or physiological activities. There are at least two isoforms of this lectin.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.Cumulus Cells: The granulosa cells of the cumulus oophorus which surround the OVUM in the GRAAFIAN FOLLICLE. At OVULATION they are extruded with OVUM.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.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).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.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.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.Pimozide: A diphenylbutylpiperidine that is effective as an antipsychotic agent and as an alternative to HALOPERIDOL for the suppression of vocal and motor tics in patients with Tourette syndrome. Although the precise mechanism of action is unknown, blockade of postsynaptic dopamine receptors has been postulated. (From AMA Drug Evaluations Annual, 1994, p403)Lectins: Proteins that share the common characteristic of binding to carbohydrates. Some ANTIBODIES and carbohydrate-metabolizing proteins (ENZYMES) also bind to carbohydrates, however they are not considered lectins. PLANT LECTINS are carbohydrate-binding proteins that have been primarily identified by their hemagglutinating activity (HEMAGGLUTININS). However, a variety of lectins occur in animal species where they serve diverse array of functions through specific carbohydrate recognition.Exocytosis: Cellular release of material within membrane-limited vesicles by fusion of the vesicles with the CELL MEMBRANE.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.Carbohydrates: The largest class of organic compounds, including STARCH; GLYCOGEN; CELLULOSE; POLYSACCHARIDES; and simple MONOSACCHARIDES. Carbohydrates are composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen in a ratio of Cn(H2O)n.Embryonic Development: Morphological and physiological development of EMBRYOS.Cricetinae: A subfamily in the family MURIDAE, comprising the hamsters. Four of the more common genera are Cricetus, CRICETULUS; MESOCRICETUS; and PHODOPUS.Lasers: An optical source that emits photons in a coherent beam. Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation (LASER) is brought about using devices that transform light of varying frequencies into a single intense, nearly nondivergent beam of monochromatic radiation. Lasers operate in the infrared, visible, ultraviolet, or X-ray regions of the spectrum.PolyvinylsPregnancy 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.Infertility, Female: Diminished or absent ability of a female to achieve conception.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.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).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.PolysaccharidesN-Acetyllactosamine Synthase: The A protein of the lactose synthase complex. In the presence of the B protein (LACTALBUMIN) specificity is changed from N-acetylglucosamine to glucose. EC 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.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.Galactose Oxidase: An enzyme that oxidizes galactose in the presence of molecular oxygen to D-galacto-hexodialdose. It is a copper protein. EC 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.Birefringence: The property of nonisotropic media, such as crystals, whereby a single incident beam of light traverses the medium as two beams, each plane-polarized, the planes being at right angles to each other. (Cline et al., Dictionary of Visual Science, 4th ed)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.Chlortetracycline: A TETRACYCLINE with a 7-chloro substitution.Peanut Agglutinin: Lectin purified from peanuts (ARACHIS HYPOGAEA). It binds to poorly differentiated cells and terminally differentiated cells and is used in cell separation techniques.