Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer/ZIFT
Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer is used where a blockage in the fallopian tubes prevents the normal binding of sperm to the egg.
ZIFT, or Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer, is another option for achieving pregnancy in cases where infertility is unrelated to female organic pelvic disease. The process involves the transfer of one or more zygotes (fertilized eggs) or embryos directly into the mother's fallopian tubes during laparoscopy. The procedure may also be referred to as “Tubal Embryo Transfer.” IHR's expertise in ZIFT 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 ZIFT, please contact us for a FREE ZIFT E-Mail Consultation..
In ZIFT, the laparoscopy is performed to place fully formed embryos into the fallopian tube in the hope that they will find their way into the uterine cavity and implant. The ZIFT procedure requires an initial egg retrieval and fertilization of the eggs in the laboratory, quite similar to IVF. The zygotes or embryos are loaded into a thin catheter and injected into the outer third of one or both fallopian tubes during laparoscopy. The egg retrieval is performed through transvaginal needle-aspiration, and one or two days later zygotes are transferred to one or both fallopian tubes during the laparoscopic procedure.
ZIFT offers a bit more assurance than GIFT because the doctor will be able to confirm that the eggs have been fertilized before placing them in the Fallopian tubes. Also, this technique allows a developing embryo to travel into the uterus on its own, which may be important to those who wish their baby to develop as naturally as possible—although there are no medical reasons why natural fertilization is preferable to assisted fertilization.
The ZIFT procedure may be performed in the office under sedation and local anesthetic. The disadvantage with ZIFT is that the transfer of the zygote must be performed through a laparoscope. This involves a surgical incision, whereas with IVF, the fertilized eggs are transferred through the vagina without the need for any incisions. Although laparoscopy is a minor surgical procedure, it still adds to the complexity, risk and cost of the entire process.
ZIFT requires that the woman have at least one functioning fallopian tube. Therefore, ZIFT is not an option in women with infertility caused by tubal problems. However, like IVF, it is possible to determine whether fertilization has taken place. The obvious advantage of ZIFT is that ZIFT uses zygotes, not an egg and sperm mixture. With ZIFT, fertilization is documented prior to replacement of the zygote into the fallopian tube. ZIFT may be indicated if additional procedures need to be implemented to fertilize the Oocytes such as in cases of severe male factor infertility where ICSI may be necessary.
Also ZIFT may be a preferred alternative if you want to decrease the probability of multiple pregnancies. A few zygotes are selected for fresh transfer depending upon their quality. The number of zygotes transferred seeks to maximize the pregnancy rate without increasing considerably the probability of a multiple pregnancy. ZIFT has been used in infertility situations where at least one fallopian tube is normal and other treatments have failed. However, the need for two interventions and the fact that IVF results are better leaves few if any indications for this intervention. Accordingly, the number of ZIFTs performed has been declining.
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 ZIFT E-Mail Consultation.