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All about infertility causes of male infertility causes of female infertility causes of infertility infertility tests female fertility tests male fertility tests infertility treatment assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatments for female infertility female infertility drugs treatments for male infertility infertility prevention in vitro fertilization (IVF) intrauterine insemination (IUI) gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT) intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT)

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. This technique is one of the methods used to overcome infertility, the inability of couples to produce offspring on their own.

This procedure involves the placement of the single-celled embryo or "zygote" directly into the fallopian tube utilizing a laparoscope. The rationale for this procedure is that the zygote is normally fertilized in the fallopian tube and hence

implantation may be enhanced in some cases following ZIFT. As in IVF and GIFT, ZIFT involves ovarian stimulation, monitoring and egg retrieval. Ideally, to ensure the greatest possibility of success, several eggs, or ova, are collected and fertilized at a time. In preparation, the ovaries are stimulated with hormones to release several mature eggs at once. At the optimal time, eggs are collected using one of two retrieval techniques: ultrasound or laparoscopy.

The ultrasound retrieval method is performed in the doctor's office. The doctor places a needle inside a guide which is attached to an ultrasound vaginal instrument. After the patient receives a local anaesthetic, the doctor uses the ultrasound instrument to locate the follicles containing the eggs. Then the doctor gently guides the needle through the vaginal wall and aspirates the fluid containing the eggs into a small tube.

The maleîs sperm are collected, specially prepared, and combined with the eggs in a special medium that contains the nutrients similar to those found in the uterus. After a day, during which fertilization takes place, the fertilized eggs are evaluated, transferred to another dish containing a suitable solution, and allowed to grow. With ZIFT, the embryos are just grown in the lab for a day and are transferred back the day after retrieval. In conventional IVF, the transfer is conducted either three or five days after retrieval. The fertilized eggs, or pre-implantation embryos, are evaluated for normal development and are then transferred into the fallopian tubes using a laparoscope. This procedure may be performed in the office under sedation and local anaesthetic, or in short-stay surgery if an epidural or general anaesthetic is desired.

You may also hear the ZIFT procedure referred to as tubal embryo transfer (TET). Another slight difference between IVF and ZIFT (besides the stage of the transferred embryo) is the location where the embryos are placed in the woman's body. With IVF, the embryos are placed directly into the uterus. With ZIFT, however, the zygotes are placed directly into the fallopian tube. Therefore, a criterion for performing ZIFT is that the female partner has at least one open and functioning fallopian tube.

One 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.

Essentially GIFT and ZIFT are analogous procedures, however their specific features justify their utilization in different circumstances. Patients with failed GIFT procedures or in cases where there's some doubt about the sperm's ability to fertilize the egg, ZIFT may be a better option than GIFT. 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 pregnancy. 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.

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.
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