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Gamete Intra-Fallopian Transfer (GIFT)

Outlines the differences between IVF and GIFT treatment, and when each procedure should be used.

What are the differences between GIFT and in vitro fertilization (IVF)?

There are several points worth considering when selecting between gamete intra-Fallopian transfer (GIFT) and in-vitro fertilization (IVF). The GIFT procedure is simpler and usually less stressful to the couple than IVF. However GIFT requires healthy Fallopian tubes, while IVF can be performed in women with absent or damaged tubes. GIFT also requires a general anesthetic, and its associated complications, while IVF can be performed under a local anesthetic. In addition, GIFT is a more invasive procedure when compared to IVF because of the laparoscopy which is associated with risks of injuries to bowels, bladder and blood vessels.

The clinical guidelines on fertility issued by NICE (the National Institute for Health Clinical Excellence in the United Kingdom) state:"There is insufficient evidence to recommend the use of gamete intrafallopian transfer in preference to in vitro fertilisation in couples with unexplained fertility problems or male factor fertility problems"

Some infertility clinics offer GIFT because it does not require a HFEA license (in the UK) and and requires less laboratory activity.

The Roman Catholic church remains strongly opposed to in-vitro fertilization (IVF), its objection grounded on the belief of catholic orthodoxy that human life begins at fertilization. As a result GIFT may be accepted as an alternative because GIFT does not involve embryo culture and no fertilization outside the body.

In IVF, fertilization takes place in the laboratory dish and can be confirmed visually under the microscope, while in GIFT, there is no way of knowing that fertilization has taken place unless the woman falls pregnant. For this reason, some specialists favor IVF than GIFT especially in unexplained infertility and in male factor infertility. Furthermore, IVF provides the embryologist with the opportunity to select the best quality embryos on day 3 or day 5 for transfer. In contrast, GIFT places unfertilized eggs and sperm in the tubes. .

IVF has almost completely replaced GIFT and ZIFT and they are rarely performed nowadays.

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