How does IVF work?
IVF involves removing an egg from the woman, combining the egg with sperm in a lab setting, and inserting the fertilized egg back into the woman’s body. During traditional IVF procedures, embryos are kept in a lab under observation for 3-5 days.
Differences between treatments
GIFT and ZIFT are worthwhile alternatives to IVF treatments. IVF places fertilized eggs inside the uterus. GIFT and ZIFT treatments, however, resemble natural conception since the eggs are placed in the fallopian tubes. In GIFT procedures, the sperm and egg are left to fertilize within the tubes. These alternative treatments are usually left as a final resort, making up less than two percent of assisted reproductive procedures.
GIFT starts just like traditional IVF with injectable hormones to stimulate ovulation. Other medications are used to mature eggs. Fertility specialists perform the transfer after a few days of fertilization with a simple catheter procedure. This procedure, however, requires a surgical incision into the abdomen to insert the eggs and sperm into the fallopian tubes. For GIFT procedures, the sperm and egg mixture is inserted into fallopian tubes right after mixing.
What to expect
Patients will be under anesthesia. A laparoscope, a fiber-optic telescope, is used to correctly transfer the eggs and sperm into the fallopian tubes. During the procedure, multiple eggs may be placed into the fallopian tubes. Fertilization is challenging to assess. This treatment may lead to an increased risk of multiple births.
With this treatment, eggs and sperm are combined in a laboratory and left for only 24 hours to fertilize, which is less than IVF treatment’s fertilization window. ZIFT also requires hormone treatment and laparoscopy to complete the final transfer. Unlike GIFT, ZIFT patients know that sperm and eggs are fertilized. Because of the fertilization, fewer eggs are needed, which lowers the risk of multiple pregnancies.
What to expect
ZIFT can be a viable assisted reproductive procedure except in some cases. For instance, fallopian tube blockage or damage can drastically reduce the chances of conception. Additionally, the method may not work effectively in patients with issues in the uterus or sperm that can’t attach to eggs.
Talk with a fertility specialist
GIFT and ZIFT can also be used in cases of mild male infertility, as long as the sperm can fertilize an egg. Women who can’t produce healthy eggs may consider using donor eggs. Coupes looking for fertility treatment can consider ZIFT and GIFT with approval from a fertility specialist.
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