What Is Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT)?

Gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT) can help women and couples who have difficulty conceiving give birth. When deciding which fertility treatment is best for you, you should understand all of your options in order to make an informed decision.

Process of Fertilization

Gamete intrafallopian transfer involves the forced fertilization of eggs. To collect multiple eggs, you will first take medications for a period of four to six weeks that will stimulate your ovaries to release more than one egg in a cycle. As the date of the procedure approaches, your fertility specialist will then inject a hormone into your body that prepares it for pregnancy. About 1-1/2 days after the hormone injection, your fertility specialist will collect these eggs via an aspiration procedure, which is somewhat like using a gentle specialized vacuum in the vagina to withdraw the eggs.

The eggs are then mixed immediately with the man's sperm. However, unlike other fertility treatments, the eggs and sperm are not fertilized in the laboratory before they are implanted. The egg/sperm mixture is promptly implanted back into the your body for fertilization to take place within you.

Location of Fertilization

Traditionally, fertilization takes place in a woman's fallopian tubes, toward the region closest to the ovary and furthest from the uterus. The fertilized egg then transfers along the fallopian tubes into the uterus, where it develops into a fetus. In many fertility treatments, the already-fertilized eggs are implanted directly into the uterus, bypassing passage through the fallopian tubes.

However, because gamete intrafallopian transfer involves fertilization not within the laboratory but within a woman's body, the egg/sperm mixture is implanted into your fallopian tubes, where the fertilization would otherwise usually take place. The implantation occurs via a laparoscopic procedure wherein small incisions are made in your abdomen, and your specialist places a catheter in the fallopian tubes through which to introduce the mixture. After the procedure, your specialist will continue to monitor you for early signs of pregnancy.

Best Candidates

Gamete intrafallopian transfer is for women with at least one healthy fallopian tube. Conditions such as tubal blockage and severe intrauterine adhesions may disqualify you from the procedure. Doctors may not recommend GIFT for you until you have tried unsuccessfully for at least a year to get pregnant. You may also consider the procedure after failing intrauterine insemination at least five or six times.

If you are part of a couple in which the fertility issue lies more with the male, you may have a better chance with in vitro fertilization. The success rate of GIFT is somewhere around 25%.

Deciding whether or not gamete intrafallopian transfer is the best fertility treatment for you should involve an in-depth discussion of your options with your fertility specialist, but now you are at least more familiar with the procedure. If GIFT sounds appealing to you, seek out a fertility specialist that offers this procedure.

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