Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer: GIFT

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 the in vitro fertilization (IVF) and zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT) procedures is that the fertilization process takes place inside the fallopian tube rather than in a laboratory. However, healthy tubes are necessary for GIFT to work.

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How is GIFT performed?

GIFT is an assisted reproductive procedure that involves the following:

  • A woman’s ovaries are stimulated with medications to increase the probability of producing multiple eggs.
  • Eggs are collected through an aspiration procedure.
  • The best quality eggs are immediately mixed with mobile sperm and placed in a special catheter.
  • The mixture of eggs and sperm are transferred to the woman through a laparoscopic procedure by placing a catheter in the fallopian tube and injecting the egg/sperm mixture.
  • The last step is to watch for early pregnancy symptoms. Your fertility specialist will probably use a blood test to determine if pregnancy has occurred.

Who should be treated with GIFT?

GIFT is an assisted reproductive procedure that is a possible solution for any infertility problem except the following:

  • Tubal blockage
  • Significant tubal damage
  • An anatomic problem with the uterus, such as severe intrauterine adhesions.

In general, in vitro fertilization (IVF) is preferable for couples with male factor infertility.

GIFT is commonly chosen by couples who have failed to conceive after trying at least one year and who have failed five to six cycles of ovarian stimulation with intrauterine insemination.

What are the differences between GIFT and in vitro fertilization (IVF)?

  • GIFT tends to be favored by women who have tried getting pregnant through other means but have not been successful, whereas IVF is preferable for women with more severe infertility concerns.
  • Since GIFT does not involve embryo culture, patients are able to pursue additional fertility treatments without having to address ethical concerns related to the creation or transfer of embryos.
  • IVF provides the physician with the opportunity to select the best quality embryos on day 3 or day 5 for transfer. In contrast, GIFT places unfertilized eggs and sperm in the tubes.
  • In the GIFT procedure, the transfer of gametes into the tube requires an extra surgical procedure called laparoscopy.
Last Updated: 02/2012

Compiled using information from the following sources:

RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, http://www.resolve.org

American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), http://www.asrm.org