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

For couples having difficulty getting pregnant, one infertility treatment that can help treat a variety of infertility problems, including both female infertility and male infertility, is gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT). GIFT is a type of assisted reproductive technology (ART) procedure that can help couples achieve their goal of pregnancy more quickly. But what exactly is GIFT and what is the average pregnancy success rate associated with this type of ART procedure?

What is GIFT?

First introduced in 1984, gamete intrafallopian transfer is an assisted reproductive technology treatment in which the eggs are removed from the ovaries and are combined with washed sperm. The eggs and sperm are then placed in the fallopian tubes via a small incision in the abdomen that is created using a laparoscopy.

Here is an overview of the GIFT process:

  • eggs are stimulated using medication
  • eggs are collected in a process referred to as aspiration
  • three to four eggs are combined with 200 000 sperm in a catheter
  • combined egg and sperm are transferred into the fallopian tubes using a laparoscopy

Because the eggs and sperm are directly placed in the ampullary region of the fallopian tubes, fertilisation and early embryo development occur in a natural environment. The embryo is also transported to and enters the uterine cavity naturally. This is in contrast to IVF, in which fertilisation occurs in the lab.

What Fertility Problems Does GIFT Best Treat?

GIFT is a good option for individuals with non-tubal causes of infertility.

It is also particularly beneficial in cases in which a couple has been trying to get pregnant for a year or more through sexual intercourse without success. Gamete intrafallopian transfer is also a good option when IVF is not successful.

GIFT requires that a woman have no tubal damage, including tubal blockage, and that she have no anatomical problems with her uterus, such as severe intrauterine adhesions.

While GIFT can also be beneficial in cases when male fertility is the cause of infertility, such as low sperm count, it is not recommended for severe male infertility, including when immunologic infertility is the cause of infertility.

Other examples of when gamete intrafallopian transfer is a good infertility treatment option are cases in which ovulation problems or cervical problems result in infertility.

GIFT Success Rate

On average, the gamete intrafallopian transfer pregnancy success rate is that 35% of all cases result in getting pregnant.

In addition, 27% of all cases result in a live birth.

The Cost of Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer

On average, the cost of a GIFT cycle is £5500.

However, this cost varies according to the fertility clinic, and can also fluctuate due to supplementary costs, such as the cost of ultrasound monitoring and medication.

The Advantages of GIFT

One advantage of GIFT is that fertilisation occurs in the body naturally.

In addition, unlike as was previously thought, GIFT does not increase the risk of ovarian cancer.

The Disadvantages of GIFT

Some of the disadvantages of GIFT include that it is a more invasive assisted reproductive technology when compared to in vitro fertilisation. Couples with serious fertility problems who undergo GIFT tend to be more successful in getting pregnant than if they undergo IVF.

In addition, because several eggs are transferred into the fallopian tubes, GIFT is associated with an increased risk of multiple births. In turn, multiple births are associated with a variety of pregnancy complications, including low birth weight and birth defects.

For more information on GIFT, click here.

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