Developed in 1984, Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer is another commonly used ART procedure. It is used in cases where the women has cervical problems or mild endometriosis or male factor infertility, and requires that a woman have at least one unobstructed fallopian tube. GIFT has an excellent success rate even with a male fertility problem and is also an excellent alternative for patients whose religious beliefs do not permit conception outside the body. GIFT, however, does not allow for the confirmation of egg fertilization that takes place in IVF. It is also more expensive because general anesthesia and a laparoscopy are required.
The three phases of GIFT include:
Follicle-stimulating hormones (FSH) are administered to stimulate the ovaries to produce several mature follicles so that multiple eggs can be harvested. These hormones are generally administered for a five to seven day period, during this time the woman is closely monitored to see if she is responding to the medication. A blood test is often used to check for an increase in estrogen levels which would signal developing follicles. An ultrasound may also be used to observe the growth and number of mature follicles.
Once the eggs have matured, then the retrieval process can begin. Through the use of laparoscopy, a physician is able to view the pelvic structures as well as the ovaries and fallopian tubes through a tiny camera. The laparoscope is placed into the abdomen through a small incision. A general anesthesia is required. The mature eggs are then harvested through the use of an aspiration system and the eggs are placed in a sterile test tube.
When the eggs are ready, the sperm and eggs are placed together in catheter. Through the use of laparoscopy, a physician injects the sperm and eggs, directly into the fallopian tube.
This allows fertilization to occur within the body just as it does in a normal pregnancy. The developing embryos remain in the fallopian tube and then move to the uterus for implantation.