In Vitro Fertilization Alternatives: Gamete Interfallopian Transfer (GIFT)

When considering In Vitro Fertilization alternatives, Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT) should be one option you look into. First popularized in the 1980s, GIFT has never achieved the same level of success rates as In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), but it offers some important differences that you may consider advantages over other similar procedures.

The Human Intervention Debate

Although GIFT has one of the lowest success rates among the In Vitro Fertilization alternatives (somewhere around 25%), that is largely due to what some consider an advantage of the procedure: the minimal human intervention. In IVF and other alternative procedures such as Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer, eggs and sperm are mixed in a laboratory under your fertility specialist's guidance. She then chooses the fertilized eggs that seem most likely to succeed and may even dispose of the excess.

GIFT involves implantation of an unfertilized egg/sperm mixture (gametes), with no discarding or overseeing by a doctor. This means that fertilization will take place within your body with no genetic manipulation.

Lowered Risk of Multiples

All fertility treatments will increase your risk of multiple births, but GIFT is one of the in vitro alternatives with the lowest risk for multiples. This is due to the fact that the eggs are not fertilized when implanted into your body. While you may not mind having twins or even triplets, multiples increase the risk of both you and your children coming down with complications and there's the possibility you will become pregnant with even more than three children at once. This raises the issue of whether you have a partial abortion for the health of yourself and the remaining children, or if you risk the complications and keep them all.

Location of Implantation

GIFT requires that a surgical incision be made in your abdomen through which the gametes will be implanted directly into your fallopian tube, the place where fertilization naturally takes place in the body. However, this is not necessarily an advantage over IVF or in vitro fertilization alternatives; alternatives like Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer have implantation take place in the exact same manner. IVF requires that implantation take place non-surgically into the uterus, bypassing the fallopian tubes, directly through the vagina; however, this actually has increased the chances of successful pregnancy to about 31%. IVF also requires no sedation, whereas GIFT may require sedation because of the surgical incision.

Convenience of Same Day Procedure

With most implantation fertility treatments, you will have to come into the clinic or hospital one day for a procedure in which your eggs are extracted from your ovaries via a vacuum-like tool inserted into the vagina. You will then be sent home and brought back within a day (or possibly a few days later) after your fertility specialist has produced fertilized eggs. With GIFT, your fertility specialist will mix your eggs with the sperm immediately and then implant the mixture the same day.

If you'd prefer to choose from In Vitro Fertilization alternatives, ask your fertility specialist if Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer is a viable option for you. If you choose to undergo GIFT, you must have at least one healthy fallopian tube and no severe damage or abnormalities in the uterus.