What is Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT)?
Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT) is a form of ART that was first introduced in 1984. In other forms of ART, fertilization takes place inside the laboratory, rather than in the woman’s body. With GIFT, fertilization occurs within the fallopian tube.
In a fertile couple, the sperm and egg normally meet in the fallopian tube, which is where fertilization occurs. With GIFT, fertilization mimics nature, with the process taking place inside the woman’s body, rather than outside. The desired result is for fertilization to occur in the fallopian tube. The fertilized egg, called an embryo, begins to divide and in four days, contains many cells. At this time, the embryo moves from the fallopian tube to the uterine cavity where it "floats" for another two days. The embryo then implants in the uterine wall, and becomes a pregnancy.
During a GIFT procedure, a woman is given fertilization hormones to induce the production of multiple eggs. Two to three eggs are then removed from the woman's ovaries and placed in a catheter with the desired sperm. The number of eggs used for the procedure is determined by the age of the woman. The eggs and sperm are then placed into the woman’s fallopian tube during a surgical procedure called laparoscopy. Laparoscopy is an outpatient procedure requiring general anesthesia and involves making a small incision in the abdomen.
Who is a candidate for GIFT?
For a woman to be a candidate for GIFT, she must have at least one healthy fallopian tube. GIFT may also be used by women with unexplained reasons for infertility or have a religious objection to fertilization occurring outside of the body. Women with tubal damage or tubal blockage are not candidates for GIFT and should utilize a different ART procedure such as in vitro fertilization.
What are the risks with GIFT?
There are some risks associated with the procedure. During laparoscopic surgery, there is a risk of pelvic infection or puncture of organs due to the incisions. As with other forms of ART, there is also a risk of multiple births. A major disadvantage of the GIFT method as compared with IVF is that the quality of the embryo and whether or not fertilization has occurred cannot be confirmed. A physician can determine if the procedure was a success about 12 days after the surgery.
What is the cost for GIFT?
GIFT is a more expensive procedure than IVF. Patients must include the costs of the outpatient hospitalization in addition to the cost of the procedure. The average costs range from $12,000 to $15,000 per attempt.
What is the success rate?
Statistically, the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) combines all forms of assisted reproductive technology together to determine the overall success rate. There is no way to determine a success rate from each procedure except on an individual clinic basis. The following represents the success rate for a live birth using ART procedures.
- Women under age 35 – 45.8%
- Women 35-37 – 37.2%
- Women 38-40 – 28.2%
- Women over 41 – 18.5%