Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer: Controversies

Zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT) is one fertility treatment option for women and couples who have had difficulty conceiving. You must have at least one healthy fallopian tube and no significant uterus abnormalities to be a candidate for the procedure. However, before you decide to go ahead with the procedure, make sure you're aware of all of the controversies surrounding it.

Zygote Selection

Some people object to any fertility treatments, but many women and couples would be unable to conceive without assistance. However, there is one point that isn't a necessary part of fertility assistance (although there is a reason why it is done) and that is zygotes and the selection process. With zygote intrafallopian transfer, zygotes (fertilized eggs) are implanted into your body because this increases the chances of the procedure being a success by five to ten percent.

These zygotes are formed in the laboratory and your fertility specialist will take a look at the multiple zygotes and select the zygotes most likely to succeed for implantation. Some people object to the human selection element and that may be why they instead choose gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT), which doesn't involve human selection because an unfertilized egg/sperm mixture is implanted instead of zygotes.

Zygote Discarding

Along with zygote selection comes zygote discarding. Any unused fertilized eggs are typically destroyed, although you can request them to be frozen for future attempts. However, using frozen zygotes may slightly decrease your chances of successful pregnancy through fertility treatments such as zygote intrafallopian transfer.

Genetic Diagnosis

Zygote intrafallopian transfer allows--but does not require--what is known as preimplantation genetic diagnosis, which is a more interfering process than simple zygote selection. Instead of the fertility specialist choosing which zygotes to implant purely on the likelihood that the zygote will become a successful embryo in the womb, genetic diagnosis allows the potential parent(s) to choose some genetic features of their child, such as a likelihood to be one gender over the other or a likelihood to have a lesser risk of disease. However, this is not always part of the process and sometimes, like in the choice to have a child who's got a low risk of disease, genetic diagnosis can have some positive implications.

Increased Chance of Partial Abortion

Another controversy surrounding ZIFT and other fertility treatments that use zygotes instead of gametes is that, if you successfully become pregnant (which is about a one in three chance), your likelihood of having multiples is 35%. Most women can handle twins and many can handle triplets, but you may become pregnant with more children than your body can safely handle. This raises the issue of whether or not to have a partial abortion for your health and the health of the remaining children or to risk the health of both you and your children by having all of the children.

If you're aware of the controversies surrounding zygote intrafallopian transfer and you still decide that you don't have any objections to the procedure, don't let the guilt that others may try to impose on you stop you from trying to conceive a child with this assistance. However, if you do object, you may find another fertility treatment to which you may have fewer objections.

Have specific questions?
ASK A DOCTOR

All Article Categories

Suggested Doctors

Recently Asked Questions