Essential Terms: Sexual and reproductive rights

From assisted reproductive technology to egg freezing, learn about essential terms used in discourse about sexual and reproductive rights.

The termination of pregnancy. Safe abortions usually refer to legal and performed by a registered medical professional in a medical clinic or hospital. Unsafe abortions usually refer to illegal abortions performed in an unhygienic environmental by individuals who lack the necessary qualifications.

Assisted Reproductive Technology

Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) includes all forms of fertility treatments where both eggs and embryos are handled, including in vitro fertilisation (IVF), donor in vitro fertilisation (donor IVF), intrauterine insemination, intrafallopian transfer, and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). In the case of IVF, doctors remove eggs from a woman’s ovaries, then fertilize them with the father’s sperm in a laboratory. Successfully fertilised eggs are then returned to the original woman’s body (IVF) or donated to another woman (donor IVF).


Various methods used by women to prevent pregnancy, including the use of condoms, oral contraceptives, the “morning after” pill, intrauterine devices, contraceptive rings, contraceptive implants, contraceptive injections, or sterilisation.

Donor insemination (DI)

An assisted fertilisation procedure involving the use of a syringe to insert semen in a woman’s vagina.

Egg Freezing

Also known as oocyte cryopreservation, egg freezing is an increasingly popular procedure intended to preserve a woman’s reproductive potential for professional or personal reasons. During the treatment, doctors extract a patient’s eggs, freeze them, then store them for several years until the woman is ready to try fertilising them.

Family Planning

Planning by a family to determine the number and timing of their children.

Maternal Mortality

When a woman dies while pregnant or within 42 days of terminating a pregnancy due to complications related to the pregnancy.

Reproductive Health

Complete physical, mental and social well-being relating to the reproductive system and its functions. It implies that people have a satisfying and safe sex life, with the capacity to reproduce and have the freedom to decide when and how often this will be.

Sexual Health

Closely tied to Reproductive Health, but focuses on the physical, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality.

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