What is gamete intrafallopian tube transfer (GIFT)?
GIFT is an assisted reproductive procedure which involves removing a woman’s eggs, mixing them with sperm, and immediately placing them into a fallopian tube. One of the main differences between this procedure and in vitro fertilization (IVF) and zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT) procedures is that with GIFT the fertilization process takes place inside the fallopian tube rather than in a laboratory. However, healthy tubes are necessary for GIFT to work.
How is GIFT performed?
GIFT is an assisted reproductive procedure that involves the following:
- Patients must first have an x-ray to determine the presence of at least one healthy fallopian tube. The doctor will also use a laparoscope to ensure that there is not any scar tissue on the outside of the fallopian tube.
- Using a laparoscope, eggs are then retrieved from the ovaries.
- The male provides a sperm sample the same day that the eggs are retrieved.
- The eggs are then mixed with the sperm in a catheter.
- The egg and sperm mixture is inserted into the fallopian tubes with a catheter.
- The woman is then provided with medication to build up the uterine lining to support implantation of a fertilized egg.
If any additional eggs are left over, you may use them for IVF and save any viable embyros to use in the future.
Who can be treated with GIFT?
GIFT has been used with the following patients:
- Couples with unexplainable infertility
- Couples who have not had success with IVF
- Couples who have a religious or moral reluctance to use IVF
- Women who have at least one healthy fallopian tube
- Couples in which the husband has a low sperm count or other problems with his sperm
However, according to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, “There is insufficient evidence to recommend the use of gamete intrafallopian transfer or zygote intrafallopian transfer in preference to IVF in couples with unexplained fertility problems or male factor fertility problems.”
What are the differences between GIFT and in vitro fertilization (IVF)?
- With IVF, the eggs are fertilized in a laboratory rather than in the fallopian tubes as with GIFT.
- IVF can be used with couples in which the female does not have fallopian tubes or has blocked fallopian tubes.
- IVF allows for fertilization confirmation and assessment of embryo quality.
- GIFT does not involve fertilization outside of the body, so couples do not have to deal with the ethical concerns with choosing which embryos to transfer.
Advantages and Disadvantages:
- The good news is that GIFT does not require you to be hospitalized. After the procedure, patients typically stay in recovery for about eight hours.
- Doctors cannot visibly confirm fertilization or determine embryo quality with GIFT.
- GIFT cannot be used in patients who have damaged or blocked fallopian tubes.
Last Updated: 09/2014
Compiled using information from the following sources:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013). Infertility faqs. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/Infertility/#d
Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority. (2009). What is GIFT and how does it work? Retrieved from http://www.hfea.gov.uk/GIFT.html
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. (2013). Fertility: Assessment and treatment for people with fertility problems. Retrieved from http://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg156/chapter/recommendations
RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association. (2014). IVF/ART. Retrieved from http://www.resolve.org/family-building-options/ivf-art/
The Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Health System. (n.d.). Gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT). Retrieved from http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/fertility/services/gift.html