The reality of IVF
Although IVF is the most successful infertility treatment currently available, the solution doesn’t guarantee success for every patient. In truth, a successful pregnancy that leads to a live birth doesn’t always happen, even in ideal candidates. Of the 330,773 assisted reproductive therapy (ART) IVF cycles performed in a recent year, only 77,998 resulted in live births.
Conventional IVF treatment
During standard IVF, the woman is given ovulation stimulation hormones to boost egg production and release. Once retrieved, the eggs are combined with the male partner or donor’s sperm in a laboratory to create an embryo. If fertilization is successful, the embryo is transferred to the woman’s uterus in hopes of implantation.
Parsing GIFT from IVF
With modern technology, IVF can be modified in a variety of ways. Gamete intrafallopian transfer is a solution that accelerates the lab fertilization step. Technically, the modification doesn’t qualify as an official IVF procedure because fertilization occurs in the body. Instead, GIFT speeds up the process significantly, with a specialist transferring the egg and sperm mixture back to the woman almost immediately after egg retrieval. Usually, within 24 hours of retrieval, the mixture is inserted directly into the fallopian tubes.
Benefits of GIFT
Not every patient is an ideal candidate for GIFT, and women with fallopian tube blockages or uterine problems likely will want to say no to this add-on. However, for individuals that opt for GIFT, there are some notable benefits. Typically, the egg retrieval and subsequent transfer happen in a single day rather than being spaced several days apart. Additionally, fertilization in the body allows the embryos that reach the uterine lining to do so according to a more natural timeline.
Making the choice
Gamete intrafallopian transfer is a fertility treatment modification that can improve conception outcomes. For women with a healthy uterus and fallopian tubes, GIFT can improve fertilization rates. Research suggests as many as 50-70% of eggs transferred via GIFT are successfully fertilized. Patients should note that the risk of multiple births is higher with GIFT since multiple retrieved eggs are used simultaneously. For women and couples considering the process, plan on speaking to a fertility specialist for more information.