Gamete/Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer

Anai Rhoads's picture

by Anai Rhoads

GIFT: Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer

This process is about half as expensive as IVF and requires up to a third less time to complete. The entire GIFT procedure takes about 40-60 minutes, and it carries slightly higher success rates than IVF, yielding a pregnancy rate of about 35%, but it also carries the same risks and stresses as IVF. The only differences are the following:

  1. You need one good fallopian tube, normal semen, and a good postcoital test (PCT) result. Usually, couples with unexplained infertility are the best candidates.
  2. Instead of fertilizing the eggs in a laboratory, the woman's mature eggs and her partner's washed sperm are mixed in a syringe together and inserted via laparoscopy right into her fallopian tube. A general anesthetic is necessary.

What does it involve?
GIFT was developed in 1984 primarily for couples with unexplained infertility. Like IVF, fertility drugs are used to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple follicles. And, like IVF, the follicles are retrieved. Unlike IVF, there is no fertilization process that is done in a laboratory. Instead, roughly an hour prior to egg retrieval, a semen sample is delivered and put inside a centrifuge, where it's washed and then placed in a test tube.

Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer (ZIFT)

Essentially, ZIFT is exactly the same procedure as GIFT except that instead of transferring raw egg and sperm into the fallopian tube, the egg and sperm are placed in a petri dish, where they are fertilized but not cultured into embryos. Instead, the fertilized egg and sperm are transferred in their "undivided" state, which is called a zygote.

(Note: raw or untampered egg and sperm are gametes; fertilized egg and sperm prior to cellular division are zygotes; fertilized egg and sperm that have begun cellular division are embryos.

In a ZIFT procedure, the transfer of the sperm and egg is done 18-52 hours after egg retrieval, so the egg and sperm can fertilize. Like IVF, either laparoscopy or an ultrasound-guided transvaginal procedure is used to transfer the zygotes into the fallopian tube.

Age In Vitro Fertilization success rates
20-35 years 45-53% success
35-40 years 27-33% success
41 years 17% success
42+ years 2% success

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Anai Rhoads is a medical and political researcher/writer with a particular interest in the sanctions on Iraq and the wider effect of racism's influence in the Middle East. A vegan since 2000, she is a dedicated supporter of activities which promote animal and human rights. Originally from Greece, she now resides in Virginia, USA with her husband and their two dogs, Bijou and Eva.

Copyright © Anai Rhoads. Permission to publish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.