What is gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT), and is it more effective than in vitro fertilization (IVF)?
Both GIFT (gamete intrafallopian transfer) and IVF (in vitro fertilization) are methods of helping couples conceive that fall under the category called assisted reproductive technology (ART). All fancy names and abbreviations for helping a couple fulfill their dream of having a baby!
GIFT is a method that involves obtaining both the woman's eggs and the man's sperm. The egg is examined for what stage of maturity it is in and carefully suspended in a special fluid. The eggs are then placed in a catheter or tube with the sperm right behind them and are placed into the woman's fallopian tubes through a small surgical incision (by laparoscope) in her abdomen. The idea here is to allow fertilization to occur where it normally would—inside the body, in the fallopian tubes.
With IVF, the eggs and sperm are placed together in the laboratory and then the fertilized eggs are placed inside the uterus. Many religious groups that have strong beliefs about reproductive technology prefer GIFT, as fertilization occurs inside the body.
When working with your doctor, you can decide together which method might be the most beneficial for you. If there is a history of fallopian tube blockage, endometriosis, or low sperm count, IVF might be a better option. Many doctors feel that for women in their 40s, GIFT is a better choice to provide the optimal environment for her eggs. There are many factors in addition to those which will be considered. Live birth rates are similar with each procedure. Success rates can vary depending on the clinic or center you are using.