Understanding Non-IVF Fertility Treatments

For most of society, in vitro fertilization (IVF) is seen as the go-to option for couples facing infertility. However, the truth is that assisted reproductive therapy (ART) treatments are more diverse. While IVF can be a lifeline for many women and couples, the underlying fertility issue and any moral concerns will directly impact the recommended solution. In many cases, in vivo fertilization, a form of conception still occurring inside the body, can yield great success rates.


Defining IVF

In vitro fertilization is a 4-6 week process that involves closely monitoring a woman’s cycle and using hormone therapy to boost ovulation. Eggs are retrieved from the woman and mixed with a sperm sample outside the body for fertilization. The fertilized embryo is then transferred to the uterus. Along with being a more expensive fertility treatment, the process can also take a toll physically and mentally. More importantly, even for people who qualify as ideal candidates, a successful pregnancy isn’t always achieved on the first try. Recent statistics show that, of the 330,773 IVF cycles performed during a single year, only 77,998 resulted in live births.

What is gamete intrafallopian transfer?

Many people assume that gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT) is just a variation of IVF, but this isn’t exactly true. Although the end goal is the same, the procedures are slightly different. While the process of GIFT is quite similar to IVF up through egg harvesting, the next steps diverge. For IVF patients, several days or even multiple cycles may pass between egg retrieval and embryo transfer. With GIFT, fertilization occurs within the body, which is more closely aligned with natural conception. Patients undergoing GIFT will have the harvested eggs and sperm placed directly in the fallopian tubes within 24 hours of retrieval.

GIFT candidates

Not all people facing infertility are ideal candidates for GIFT. However, some patients might want to consider the procedure. For example, couples with religious or moral objections to IVF can often opt for GIFT since conception occurs within the body. Women who don’t have physical blockages in the fallopian tubes or uterus would also be good potential candidates. No known deficiencies such as motility or physical abnormalities should be present in the male sperm sample to go the GIFT route.

The GIFT of a baby

When trying to get pregnant, many patients wonder if GIFT is a better choice over IVF. GIFT is more expensive but still requires hormone stimulation. Additionally, with GIFT, couples can’t confirm that an egg has been fertilized until taking a pregnancy test roughly 2 weeks later. Most fertility specialists won’t lead with GIFT as the starting solution to help a woman or couple conceive a child. However, if religious objections prevent IVF from being a viable option, GIFT can be considered if no underlying conditions pose an issue.

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