Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT): Advantages and Disadvantages

Gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT) is a surgical fertility treatment to help women and couples conceive. When weighing your options among the varied fertility treatments, it's important that you understand the advantages and disadvantages of the GIFT procedure before you make your decision.

Disadvantage: Fewer Women Are Candidates

One considerable disadvantage of gamete intrafallopian transfer over other fertility treatments, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) and surrogacy, is that fewer women are candidates for the procedure. Women opting to undergo GIFT must have at least one healthy fallopian tube, as the fallopian tube factors heavily into the procedure.

Women who choose this procedure generally have no to few fertility problems themselves and need sperm donors, otherwise their significant others are the ones who experience fertility issues. However, GIFT does have about the same candidacy requirements as zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT), another popular surgical fertility treatment.

Advantage: Less Ethically Debatable

One of the biggest advantages of GIFT--and the reason why many women and couples choose this option, even despite its disadvantages--is that it is generally less ethically debatable than other popular fertility treatments, such as IVF and ZIFT. This is because there is no human intervention in the actual fertilization of the egg, which also means that there is no human selection of the "best" (most likely to succeed) eggs (and the possible discarding of other fertilized eggs that are not used). Instead, the fertility specialist will mix the eggs and sperm, but implant them immediately into the woman's body, leaving fertilization to take place naturally inside the body.

Disadvantage: Lower Success Rate

However, precisely because fertilization during gamete intrafallopian transfer takes place inside the body and not under the guidance of the fertility specialist, GIFT has a lower success rate than other similar procedures, such as ZIFT and IVF. While IVF results in successful pregnancies 31% of the time and ZIFT 29% of the time, GIFT only results in successful pregnancies a little less than 25% of the time.

Advantage: Significantly Lower Risk of Multiple Births

However, along with a greater success rate for IVF and ZIFT comes a greater chance of multiple births because of the process involving fertilization outside of the body. Whether or not the chance of having multiples is an advantage for you is based on your own wishes, but there are a few reasons why the risk of multiple births being significant lower with gamete intrafallopian transfer is an advantage and that is because it:

  • Reduces the risk of harm to the mother
  • Reduces the chances of the baby/babies developing birth defects
  • Eliminates the sometimes almost total need for partial abortion if the multiples are more than two or three

While there are several disadvantages to choosing gamete intrafallopian transfer over other fertility treatments, there are a number of advantages as well--advantages that might persuade you to choose GIFT over alternative options. If interested in GIFT, discuss your candidacy with your fertility specialist.