What to Expect during Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer

Zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT) can help you conceive if you've experienced difficulties conceiving or if you need to use a surrogate mother. If you have at least one healthy fallopian tube and don't have significant damage or adhesions to your uterus, you are likely eligible for this procedure. Here's what you can expect should you choose to undergo the procedure:

Hormonal Treatments

The first step for the zygote intrafallopian transfer, unless you're using donor eggs, is hormonal treatments for about ten to fourteen days prior to your egg retrieval procedure. You will be given hormones, either through injections, medications or both, to stimulate your ovaries and cause the ovaries to release multiple eggs at once. You or your egg donor will be monitored via ultrasound during daily or near-daily visits over the next ten to fourteen days. Once your ovaries' follicles have reached their peak, your fertility specialist will begin the egg retrieval process.

Egg Retrieval

Your eggs will be retrieved with an aspiration tool through your vagina. The end of the tool, a needle that's hollow, will pierce through the uterus and to the ovaries. The aspiration tool acts then somewhat like a delicate, mini vacuum that will suck the eggs from the ovary follicles. You will be discharged after about two hours to make sure that you're reacted positively to the procedure. You may experience slight pain in the abdomen and light vaginal bleeding for the remainder of the day.

Egg Fertilization

After egg retrieval, your fertility specialist will then fertilize the retrieved eggs with your partner's or donor's sperm in a laboratory. This process will take about one day. If your fertility specialist believes that there are some strong, healthy zygotes resulting from the fertilization, you will be ready for the rest of your zygote intrafallopian transfer procedure.

You will either be put under anesthesia or given a local anesthetic to numb your abdomen. Your fertility specialist will first make a small incision in your abdomen over one of your fallopian tubes using a laser or a scalpel. She will then place a catheter into your fallopian tube through this incision and will transfer the zygotes--usually between one and four, the latter to increase the chances of at least one zygote being taken successfully--directly into your fallopian tube.

Monitoring and Recovery

Following zygote implantation, the final step of zygote intrafallopian transfer is monitoring and recovery. You will be kept under observation for a period of a few days to a week. You should expect to experience some abdominal pain during this time. Your fertility specialist will monitor the zygote activity via an ultrasound. Once your fertility specialist knows whether or not your zygotes have been successfully implanted, you will be discharged.

You may find that a fertility treatment such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) can offer you a higher success rate than zygote intrafallopian transfer, but ZIFT still offers an average success rate of about 30%, meaning that you'll have an almost one-in-three chance of becoming successfully pregnant. Your chances increase if you're under thirty-four years old.