Gamete intrafallopian tube transfer/transplantation is a method of assisting pregnancy, which includes removing the female egg and sperm and mixing it into the fallopian tube immediately. Unlike in vitro fertilization and intra-fallopian tube transplantation, the process of fertilization in gamete-fallopian tube transplantation is in the fallopian tube rather than in the petri dish. However, a healthy fallopian tube is very important for gamete transplantation.
Who can be treated with GIFT?
The people who can benefit from this procedure include:
. Couples who are unable to conceive due to unknown causes.
. Couples who are not comfortable with IVF.
. Those who have tried IVF but have failed to get pregnant.
. Women who have a healthy fallopian tube.
. Men who have issues with a low sperm count
. Women who have cervical problems that prevent the sperm from entering the uterus
. Couples whose personal belief system does not agree with IVF
Read more about : Embryo hatching after thaw
What are the pros of GIFT?
. Natural conception. Conception occurs in the fallopian tube, rather than in the laboratory. This might appeal to you if you'd like your baby to develop as naturally as possible, or if you have specific religious beliefs against conception outside the body. However, there are no medical reasons why natural fertilization is preferable to assisted fertilization.
. No link to cancer. Recent studies have shown no connection between ovulation-inducing fertility drugs and cancer. (Early studies suggested that exposure to fertility drugs might lead to a higher risk of ovarian cancer or other cancers of the female reproductive system.)
Read more about : Gamete intrafallopian transfer advantages and disadvantages
What are the cons of GIFT?
. Costly and time-consuming. GIFT requires expensive lab work, drugs, and surgery. Monitoring your response to fertility drugs also requires a lot of time, with frequent trips to the doctor's office for blood tests and ultrasounds.
. Requires surgery. Transferring eggs and sperm to your fallopian tube requires invasive surgery, unlike IVF.
. Odds of multiples. Because more than one egg is usually placed in the fallopian tube, you're more likely to have twins or other multiples. A large study of GIFT cycles found that if three or four eggs were transferred, the pregnancy rate for twins or triplets was almost 22 percent. (The rate of conceiving twins without fertility treatment is less than 1 percent.) Though many couples consider this a blessing, carrying multiples increases your risk of miscarriage and other complications.
. Other health risks. As in IVF, you have a higher risk of ectopic pregnancy or developing ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) due to taking fertility medications that cause multiple follicles to mature.
. It may not work. The treatment could be cancelled if you're experiencing OHSS or if not enough follicles develop.
During Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT)
How does GIFT work?
The first steps of GIFT are similar to those of IVF:
. Ovary stimulation. You take medications to grow multiple mature eggs and to prevent your body from releasing the eggs too early. While taking these medications, you visit your doctor's office or clinic every two to three days for blood tests and ultrasounds, so she can monitor development of the follicles – the fluid-filled sacs where the eggs mature.
. Gathering the eggs. When the eggs are ready for retrieval, your doctor gives you an anesthetic and inserts an ultrasound probe through your vagina to look at your ovaries and identify the follicles. Then, a thin needle is inserted through the vaginal wall to remove the eggs from the follicles. Eight to 15 eggs are usually retrieved.
The next steps differ from IVF:
. Fertilization. Minutes after the egg retrieval, an embryologist (a scientist who specializes in eggs, sperm, and embryos) combines your eggs with your partner's sperm and loads the mixture into a long, thin tube called a catheter.
. Surgery. Next, the doctor performs a laparoscopy – minor surgery involving a thin, lighted microscope and a small incision. During this procedure, the doctor inserts the combined eggs and sperm from the catheter into the fallopian tube through a small cut in the abdomen. Usually, three or four eggs are placed inside the fallopian tube – the number transferred depends on a woman's age and other factors. Women are sometimes a bit sore after the laparoscopy. Extra fertilized eggs can be frozen and used later if the treatment isn't successful. Laparoscopy is minor surgery, so you'll be able to go home the same day.
. Successful implantation. If your partner's sperm fertilizes one of the eggs, the egg becomes an embryo that implants in the uterus and grows into a baby. If more than one egg was transferred, your chance of pregnancy is higher, but so is your risk of having twins, triplets, or more.
. Testing for pregnancy. You take a pregnancy test about two weeks after you have surgery.
Read more about : IVF process step by step timeline
It takes four to six weeks to complete one cycle of GIFT.
You have to wait for your eggs to mature. Then you and your partner spend about half a day at the doctor's office or clinic, having your eggs and sperm retrieved and surgically transferred to the fallopian tube.
What's the success rate for GIFT?
The outcomes of GIFT vary dramatically, depending on each couple's reasons for infertility and their ages. Younger women usually have healthier eggs and higher success rates. After using GIFT, the average pregnancy rate is about:
. 37 percent for women age 38 and younger
. 24 percent for women age 39 and older
The percentage of GIFT cycles resulting in a live birth (meaning at least one baby is born) is about 22 percent.
Read more about : IVF Success Rates by Age
What are the differences between GIFT and ZIFT?
For GIFT procedures, the sperm and egg mixture is inserted into fallopian tubes right after mixing while in ZIFT procedure, eggs and sperm are combined in a laboratory and left for only 24 hours to fertilize, the fertilized eggs --”zygotes”-- are inserted within 24 hours of the mixing. Unlike GIFT, ZIFT patients know that sperm and eggs are fertilized. Because of the fertilization, fewer eggs are needed, which lowers the risk of multiple pregnancies.