History of Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT)

When in vitro fertilization (IVF) was introduced as a fertility treatment, other forms of assisted reproductive technology (ART) began to arrive on the scene shortly thereafter, including gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT), zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT) and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).

History of GIFT

GIFT was developed in 1984 as an alternative to in vitro fertilization. The first child born as a result of GIFT was born in the UK in 1986. The first American GIFT baby was born in 1987. Since that time, GIFT has become a regularly used procedure, but has never reached the level of popularity of IVF for fertility patients overall.

Popularity of GIFT

The GIFT procedure has never become as popular as IVF, largely because it requires a somewhat invasive laparascopic surgical procedure to place a mixture of sperm and eggs directly into the fallopian tubes. This procedure is unnecessary in IVF, since the fertilized eggs are instead placed into the uterus. However, some patients feel that allowing fertilization to take place within the fallopian tube is more natural than fertilizing the eggs in a laboratory environment. In addition, GIFT has become a more acceptable option to some who have religious objections to the necessary long-term storage and/or culling of fertilized eggs that occurs during the process of IVF. Other fertility patients cannot undergo GIFT because they have suffered damage to their fallopian tubes. Only about one percent of ART procedures currently are GIFT procedures.

Success Rate of GIFT

About twenty percent of GIFT procedures result in delivery of a child. Other procedures either do not result in pregnancy, or end in miscarriage. A disadvantage of GIFT is not being able to determine if the eggs were fertilized or did not implant, making it more difficult to determine what steps to take in a future treatment to increase the likelihood of success.

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