In Vitro Fertilization Alternatives: ZIFT (Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer)

ZIFT (Zygote intrafallopian transfer) is among the available In Vitro Fertilization alternatives. This procedure is recommended for women that have difficulties conceiving, but have at least 1 healthy fallopian tube. ZIFT is very similar to the GIFT (gamete intrafallopian transfer) and is considered a successful assisted reproductive technology.

The ZIFT Procedure

The ZIFT (Zygote intrafallopian transfer) is an assisted reproductive procedure that consists of several steps. First, the woman will be placed under hormonal treatment to stimulate the formation of an egg in the ovaries. The treatment may be recommended for 2 to 8 weeks, a period during which the fertility doctor will monitor the ovarian follicles and establish when the egg is ready to be collected. When this happens, the patient will be injected with human chorionic gonadotropins (hCG).

24 to 36 hours after the hCG injection, the egg will be extracted from the ovaries through the vaginal canal. The egg will be fertilized using the sperm of the partner or a donor. Once the egg is fertilized, it will be placed in the woman’s fallopian tube, using the procedure known as laparoscopy.

The fertilized egg is also known as the zygote, which gives the name to the procedure. The entire procedure may take 6 to 12 weeks, depending on how long the initial hormonal treatment takes.


The ZIFT procedure is highly recommended to women that have trouble conceiving and have at least 1 healthy fallopian tube. The fallopian tubes in women are essential for fertility, as they make the link between the ovaries and the uterus. Women have 2 fallopian tubes.

The fallopian tubes may be damaged due to different accidents or the woman may have a congenital defect preventing her from getting pregnant. ZIFT may be performed after a miscarriage, but the woman should wait at least 2 months before starting the treatment, to allow the body to recover.

Success Rates

The zygote intrafallopian transfer procedure has a pregnancy success rate of approximately 45%, but may be lower in older patients and patients that have already suffered a miscarriage. However, this percentage may differ from the actual rate of healthy babies resulting from the procedure. Some babies may be aborted during pregnancy or may be stillborn. These problems cannot be predicted and may occur only in a few patients, due to various individual factors.

ZIFT Side Effects and Risks

The ZIFT procedure may often result in multiple pregnancies, so the parents may end up with twins or triplets. This can happen in about 30% of successful cases of ZIFT and is due to the fact that the egg can be divided during the fertilization in the laboratory dish.

Some pregnancies may result in conjoint twins. The ZIFT procedure has raises a few ethical issues, as the fertilization takes place outside the mother’s body. Despite the controversies, ZIFT is a popular assisted reproductive procedure.

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