What is Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer (ZIFT)?
Zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT) is similar to in vitro fertilization (IVF) and GIFT, but in this procedure eggs are fertilized in a lab before a doctor places them inside your fallopian tubes. These fertilized eggs are called zygotes – one-celled embryos that have not yet begun to divide into multiple cells.
This procedure can be more successful than gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT) because your physician has a greater chance of ensuring that the egg is fertilized. The woman must have healthy tubes for ZIFT to work.
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Read more about : What is the difference between ZIFT and GIFT?
Is ZIFT for me?
ZIFT is an option if other treatments have been unsuccessful and you have at least one open fallopian tube. ZIFT can also help if you have:
. Unexplained infertility
. Ovulation problems
. Your partner has a low sperm count
If your partner's sperm count is very low, or if there were fertilization problems in your previous IVF cycles, ZIFT can be used with intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) – a procedure that boosts the chance of fertilization by injecting a single sperm directly into an egg.
Advantages and Disadvantages
What are the pros of ZIFT?
. Fertilized eggs. ZIFT is slightly more reassuring than GIFT because the doctor confirms that eggs have been fertilized before placing them in the fallopian tubes.
. Natural implantation. ZIFT allows a developing embryo to travel into the uterus on its own, which may appeal to you if you'd like your baby to develop as naturally as possible (although 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.
What are the cons of ZIFT?
. Expensive. ZIFT involves expensive lab work, medications, and surgery.
. Time-consuming. Monitoring fertility drugs requires a lot of time, with frequent trips to the doctor's office for blood tests and ultrasounds.
. Hard to find. Many fertility clinics don't even offer ZIFT as a treatment alternative.
Requires surgery. Transferring zygotes to your fallopian tubes requires invasive surgery, unlike IVF.
. Multiples more likely. Because multiple zygotes are usually transferred to the fallopian tubes, you're more likely to have twins or more. Though many couples consider this a blessing, carrying multiple fetuses increases the risk of miscarriage and other complications.
. Other health risks. As in IVF, women who use ZIFT have a higher risk of delivering a premature or low-birth weight baby. If your body responds too well to fertility drugs, you can develop ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). And while all ART treatments have a greater risk of ectopic pregnancy, the risk is higher with ZIFT than with IVF.
. It may not work. Your treatment can be cancelled if you develop OHSS or if not enough follicles grow.
Risks and Side effects
All fertility treatments come with a degree of risk and ZIFT is no different. Side effects of ZIFT include:
. Invasive procedure
. Increased risk of multiple births
. Pelvic infection
. Puncture of internal organs
. Premature or low-birth weight baby
. Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS)
During Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer (ZIFT)
How does ZIFT work?
The first few steps of ZIFT are similar to those of IVF:
. Ovary stimulation. For several days at the beginning of your period, you take medications to stimulate your ovaries to develop mature eggs and to keep your body from releasing the eggs too early.
. Follicle development. While taking these drugs, you visit the doctor's office or clinic every two to three days so she can check your blood hormone levels and take ultrasound measurements of your developing follicles – the fluid-filled sacs where 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. Once she identifies the follicles, a thin needle is inserted through your vaginal wall to remove about eight to 15 eggs.
. Fertilization. An embryologist (a scientist who specializes in eggs, sperm, and embryos) then combines your eggs with your partner's sperm in a laboratory and monitors them closely for fertilization. About a day later, each of the successfully fertilized eggs becomes a single-celled embryo called a zygote.
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The next steps differ from IVF:
. Surgery. Once a zygote develops, the doctor performs minor surgery called laparoscopy. After giving you an anesthetic (general or local), the doctor makes a small incision in the abdomen. Then the doctor uses a thin, lighted microscope (a laparoscope) to transfer one to five zygotes to the fallopian tubes. Women are usually a bit sore after the surgery. Any extra zygotes can be frozen if the treatment is unsuccessful.
. Successful implantation. If the treatment works, a zygote travels through the fallopian tube and implants in the uterus, where it grows into a baby. If more than one zygote is transferred, your chance of pregnancy is higher, but so is your risk of having twins, triplets, or more.
. Testing for pregnancy. You can take a pregnancy test about two weeks after you have surgery.
How long does ZIFT take?
It takes four to six weeks to complete one treatment cycle of ZIFT, starting with fertility medications and ending with a pregnancy test.
You have to take fertility drugs and wait for your eggs to mature. Then you and your partner spend about half a day at the doctor's office or clinic, having the eggs and sperm retrieved.
After Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer (ZIFT)
What's the success rate for ZIFT?
The success rate for ZIFT varies dramatically, depending on a couple's fertility problem and age. Younger women usually have healthier eggs and higher success rates. Women have about a 22 percent chance of delivering a baby with each ZIFT cycle – similar to the IVF success rate.
Recovery and Aftercare
Recovery time is minimal for the egg collection procedure in ZIFT. Laparoscopy for egg recovery has a recovery time of around 2 days.
Ease cramps following egg collection and discomfort after laparoscopy with pain killing medication.
You may need to change fertility drugs if you experience side effects.
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