Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer or GIFT is one of the procedures used in Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) that involves removing multiple eggs from the ovaries and placing them along with the sperm into the fallopian tubes. This is done laparoscopically under a general anesthesia. The main difference between this procedure and IVF is that in GIFT the fertilization takes place in the fallopian tubes as in a natural conception whereas in IVF the fertilization takes place in the laboratory. The process is rarely used but may improve chances of pregnancy.
IDEAL CANDIDATE FOR GIFTThis method of treatment is used in cases such as
- Couples with unexplained fertility i.e. the cause of fertility is not known
- No blockage or damage of fallopian tubes of female partner
- Problems with sperm or low sperm count in male partner
- Couples have objections to fertilization taking place outside the body(IVF) on religious grounds or other reasons
- Couples with previously failed IVF cycle
PROCEDUREIn order for the treatment to succeed at least one of the fallopian tubes should be healthy. The fertility specialist would carry out a tubal patency test to ensure that the tubes are open and healthy. The ovaries are stimulated using fertility drugs and the growth of the ovarian follicles monitored. The methods are similar to that of IVF until the stage of egg collection.
Using a laparoscope eggs are retrieved from the ovaries. This is a surgical procedure and performed under general anesthesia.
The sperm sample provided on the same day as egg collection by the male is mixed with the eggs in a catheter. The catheter is inserted into the fallopian tubes via laparoscope and deposits the egg and the sperm. The gametes thus meet in the fallopian tube and fertilization occurs naturally. The resulting embryos move down to the uterus for implantation.
You might be asked to rest for some time and medication is provided to build up the uterine lining for easy implantation of the fertilized eggs. Surplus eggs if any are used for fertilization using IVF and the resulting embryos are stored for future use in case of failure of GIFT.
RISKSThe risks involved in the procedure are those resulting from laparoscopy such as pelvic infection, side effects from the general anesthesia, puncture of internal organs.
Due to hyper stimulation of the ovaries for egg retrieval, there is an increased risk of multiple births. With the advancements in the field of IVF, GIFT is rarely used as the pregnancy rates are almost the same as that of IVF and do not require laparoscopy.