Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer/GIFT
Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT) is an alternative procedure developed in 1984 for couples with unexplained infertility.
The GIFT procedure is possible to perform provided the mother has at least one open fallopian tube. GIFT is frequently used for patients with cervical or immunological factors, with mild endometriosis, or women who are older, and even certain cases involving moderate male infertility. IHR's expertise in GIFT lies in our willingness and ability to individualize our approach to best suit each and every one of our patients. If you have any questions as you review the material on GIFT, please contact us for a FREE GIFT E-Mail Consultation..In a GIFT procedure, eggs and semen are placed into the fallopian tube using a catheter, which greatly improves the chances for spontaneous conception to occur. By combining these elements in this way, the strategy is that fertilization will take place and the fertilized embryo will gravitate into the uterine cavity and implant, leading to pregnancy. This procedure usually requires surgery in order to gain access to the fallopian tube. Such access is generally obtained by performing a laparoscopy.
In a fertile couple, pregnancy begins with the release of an ovum (egg) from the woman's ovaries. The egg enters the fallopian tube where it meets with sperm that have traveled there, following intercourse, from the vagina. The sperm normally fertilize the egg in the fallopian tube. The fertilized egg, now called an embryo, begins to divide and in four days, contains many cells. At this time, the embryo moves from the fallopian tube to the uterine cavity where it floats for another two days. The embryo then implants in the uterine wall, and becomes a pregnancy.
The GIFT technique follows nature by allowing the eggs to fertilize and develop in the natural environment of the fallopian tube, and then to make their way to the uterus for implantation according to a normal timetable. In contrast, in vitro fertilization (IVF) places fertilized eggs directly into the uterus. One of GIFT's major advantages over IVF is that the technique relies to a far greater degree on the body's natural processes and timetable to produce pregnancy, and is acceptable to those religious groups which avoid the more embryo invasive technologies. In technical IVF terms, we would say that it is the best of all methods of "co-culture".
The fluid containing the eggs is placed in a laboratory dish and observed under a microscope. The egg is located and its stage of maturity noted. It is then carefully cultured in a special nutrient. Sperm and eggs are sequentially loaded into the catheter, which is then introduced into the patient's fallopian tubes through a tiny incision in her abdomen.
An advantage of GIFT is that it provides an alternative for patients with religious beliefs that prohibit conception outside of the body, as the GIFT fertilization procedure takes place within the fallopian tube.
However because fertilization occurs inside the body, it can be a challenge to confirm that fertilization has occurred. The stages involved in the GIFT treatment are similar to IVF. While the success rates are similar to IVF, the processes used in GIFT are closer to natural conception. As in vitro fertilization techniques have become more refined, GIFT have become less relied upon. Additionally, as GIFT require surgery while IVF does not, IVF is the preferred choice in clinics. In vitro fertilization accounts for at least 98% of all assisted reproductive technology procedures performed in the U.S., while GIFT make up less than 2%.
Perhaps less known is our work with individuals and couples who are considering assisted reproduction, but who are uncertain of their next step. We encourage anyone, before they make a decision, to consult with us. Currently, we are offering a FREE GIFT E-Mail Consultation.