Infertility and Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART): Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT)

For women experiencing infertility, gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT) can be an excellent option in improving one’s chances of getting pregnant. GIFT is an assisted reproductive technology (ART) infertility treatment option. But what exactly does gamete intrafallopian transfer involve and what types of infertility problems does it best treat? Are there any risks associated with GIFT, and what success rate does this assisted fertility procedure have?

What is GIFT?

GIFT is an assisted reproductive technology procedure in which the eggs are removed, combined with the sperm and then placed inside of the fallopian tubes for fertilisation.

This infertility treatment procedure differs from IVF, because in IVF, fertilisation occurs in the lab as opposed to in the fallopian tubes.

The following steps are involved in a typical gamete intrafallopian transfer procedure:

  • first, the eggs are stimulated with medications
  • the eggs are then collected through a process known as aspiration
  • next, three to four eggs are combined with 200 000 sperm inside a catheter
  • the combined eggs and sperm are then transferred into the fallopian tubes via a laparoscopy

Because it uses an extra surgical procedure—a laparoscopy—GIFT is considered a more invasive process than IVF.

When is GIFT a Good Option for Treating Infertility?

This assisted reproduction technology is helpful in treating a variety of fertility problems, and is usually used after a woman has been trying to get pregnant for at least one year. GIFT is also an option when intrauterine insemination (IUI) is unsuccessful and in cases where ovulatory disorders and cervical problems are causing infertility.

In addition, GIFT can be a good option in cases where the male partner has fertility problems, such as a low sperm count.

Women who desire being able to give birth as naturally as possible often consider GIFT to be the best assisted reproductive technology option.

GIFT can also be helpful in cases of endometriosis; however, it is important to be aware of the fact that it requires that a woman have healthy fallopian tubes.

GIFT is not recommended in the following cases:

  • tubal blockage
  • serious tubal damage
  • anatomic problems with the uterus, such as severe intrauterine adhesions

GIFT is recommended instead of IVF in cases of more serious infertility problems.

GIFT Success Rates

In 35% of cases, individuals who use GIFT successfully get pregnant.

In 27% of cases, GIFT results in a live birth.

The Benefits of GIFT

Some pros of GIFT include:

  • delivering a baby as natural as possible. Some women also prefer GIFT to IVF because fertilisation occurs in their bodies, as opposed to a lab
  • GIFT does not increase a woman’s chances of developing ovarian cancer, as was believed until recently

Drawbacks of GIFT

Some cons of GIFT include:

  • it is a more invasive procedure when compared to IVF
  • GIFT has a greater risk of multiple births, which in turn can lead to more serious pregnancy complications
  • babies born from GIFT have a greater tendency of having a low birth weight and of having birth defects

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