Gamete intra-fallopian tube transfer (GIFT) is a viable option for couples to achieve a pregnancy. However, there are several, potential, disadvantages of a GIFT procedure. Over the past 5 years, the Markham Fertility Centre has been doing a markedly lower number of GIFTs. This is because of three main factors:
1) Excellent pregnancy rates via IVF, which is less invasive
2) GIFT is more expensive than IVF requiring hospital costs as well as the procedure itself
3) It requires a general anesthetic and laparoscopy. Still, in selected individuals, GIFT remains a viable option for some couples.
In order to have a GIFT procedure done, a woman needs to have at least one normal fallopian tube and the sperm count has to be reasonably normal. Ideally, fertilization has been proven by a previous pregnancy or IVF procedure. At the Markham Fertility Centre, a GIFT procedure is, usually, done in conjunction with an IVF procedure.
At the time of laparoscopy, eggs re retrieved and evaluated. A sperm sample is collected prior to the procedure, prepared, and brought to the operating room. The best eggs (usually 2 or 3) and sperm are mixed together and transferred into the distal end of the fallopian tube(s) with a small catheter. The remaining eggs are taken back to the laboratory for in-vitro fertilization. If these eggs fertilize and become embryos, they can be frozen for future embryo transfer.
Fertilization is not proven with a GIFT procedure. The only way we know if fertilization occurred is by doing IVF with any extra eggs collected, or by having a positive pregnancy test 2 weeks following the procedure.
In theory, by placing your best unfertilized eggs into your fallopian tube(s) with prepared sperm, fertilization (if it occurs) is optimized, and takes place in the normal environment. The fertilized egg (embryo) travels down the fallopian tube for 4-5 days and then enters the uterine cavity for implantation. This journey down the fallopian tube may help with development of the embryo and, potentially, improve implantation.