What is gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT)?
Gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT) is an infertility treatment in which eggs are removed from a woman's ovaries, and placed in one of the fallopian tubes, along with the man's sperm. This allows fertilization to take place inside the woman's body.
It takes, on average, four to six weeks to complete a cycle of GIFT. First, the woman must take a fertility drug to stimulate egg production in the ovaries. The doctor will monitor the growth of the ovarian follicles, and once they are mature, the woman will be injected with Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). The eggs will be harvested approximately 36 hours later, mixed with the man's sperm, and placed back into the woman's Fallopian tubes using a laparoscope.
A woman must have at least one normal fallopian tube in order for GIFT to be suitable. It is used in instances where the fertility problem relates to sperm dysfunction, and where the couple has idiopathic (unknown cause) infertility. Some patients may prefer the procedure to IVF for ethical reasons, since the fertilization takes place inside the body.
Gamete intrafallopian tube transfer is usually done through laparoscopy. It can also be performed transcervically by the introduction of a catheter through the cervix into one of the fallopian tubes, where the sperm and eggs are discharged. This latter approach, however, although having yielded pregnancies in the past, has produced very disappointing results and has not gained widespread popularity. Accordingly, for all practical purposes the performance of GIFT requires laparoscopy.
The woman is usually stimulated with fertility drugs in order to achieve superovulation before the eggs are harvested for a GIFT procedure. The eggs can be removed through vaginal ultrasound-guided needle-aspiration prior to administering general anesthesia or at the time of laparoscopy through the introduction of a needle via the abdominal wall. The former approach has the distinct advantage of allowing cancellation of the laparoscopy if no eggs are retrieved. The eggs are then mixed with sperm that have been previously washed and capacitated in the laboratory, and then both the eggs and sperm are loaded into a fine catheter.
If GIFT is performed during laparoscopy, the physician injects the eggs and sperm into the fallopian tubes under direct vision through the laparoscope. In this case of minilaparotomy, the physician gently moves the ends of one or both fallopian tubes outside the abdomen through the incision, injects the sperm and eggs directly into the tubes, and then carefully returns them to the abdominal cavity before closing the abdomen.
More information on infertility
What is infertility? - Infertility is the inability to achieve and/or maintain pregnancy. Infertility may due to a variety of causes, including abnormal hormonal levels, low sperm production and scarring of the fallopian tubes.
What causes infertility in men? - The most common male infertility factors include azoospermia and oligospermia. In rare cases, infertility in men is caused by a genetic disease such as cystic fibrosis or a chromosomal abnormality.
What causes infertility in women? - The most common female infertility factor is an ovulation disorder. Other causes of female infertility include blocked fallopian tubes. Inability of the fertilized egg to implant in the uterus will lead to female infertility.
What causes infertility? - Causes of infertility include a wide range of physical as well as emotional factors. Infertility can be caused by any interruption in the usual process of fertilization, pregnancy, and birth.
How is infertility diagnosed? - In the male, sperm examination and sperm count is commonly done. In females, the basal body temperature is recorded each morning over several months to find any ovulatory disorders.
What female fertility tests are available? - Blood tests that measure the levels of various hormones. The doctor may want to measure the man's testosterone levels to see if they are high enough. Basal body temperature (BBT) can be measured at home using a special thermometer to help predict the most fertile days.
What male tertility tests are available? - A semen analysis is the most common testing procedure for determining if there is a male infertility factor. Semen analysis is the mainstay of male testing.
What treatments are available to cure infertility? - The ultimate goal of infertility treatment is a healthy pregnancy and the birth of one healthy infant. There are various treatments for infertility, depending what the problem is.
What is assisted reproductive technology (ART)? - Assisted reproductive technologies are medical treatments to overcome infertility. The most common type of ART is in vitro fertilization.
What are the treatments for female infertility? - Assisted reproductive technology (ART) combines the use of fertility drugs - hormonal therapy with artificial insemination using any of a group of techniques. Acupuncture may also be helpful.
What medicines treat female infertility? - Clomiphene triggers the release of FSH and LH, boosting egg growth and helping the ovaries release a monthly egg. Bromocriptine suppresses a hormone called prolactin. LH-RH drugs are used when the pituitary or hypothalamus gland is not producing hormones.
What are the treatments for male infertility? - Low sperm counts can be treated by collecting and concentrating healthy sperm for insemination or assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatment.
How to prevent infertility? - Most types of infertility cannot be prevented. Smoking has been linked to low sperm counts. Alcohol affects the fertility of both men and women. Excessive exercise can lead to menstrual disorders in women and affect sperm production in men.
What is in vitro fertilization (IVF)? - In vitro fertilization (IVF) is the process used to conceive a child outside the body. In vitro fertilization is a method of assisted reproduction that involves removing eggs from a woman's ovary, combining the egg with sperm in a dish and replacing the resulting embryos in the woman's uterus.
What is intrauterine insemination (IUI)? - Intrauterine insemination is a procedure in which a fine catheter is inserted through the cervix into the uterus to deposit a sperm sample directly into the uterus.
What is gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT)? - Gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT) is an infertility treatment in which eggs are removed from a woman's ovaries, and placed in one of the fallopian tubes, along with the man's sperm.
What is intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)? - Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is an in vitro fertilisation procedure in which a single sperm is injected directly into an egg.
What is zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT)? - Zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT) is technique in which a woman's egg is fertilized outside the body, then implanted in one of her fallopian tubes.