Gift and Zift

GIFT and ZIFT are modified versions of in-vitro fertilization (IVF).

  • GIFT and ZIFT require laparoscopic surgery to place the eggs and sperm, or fertilized eggs, into the fallopian tubes.
  • The need for surgery makes these procedures more risky and expensive than IVF, which does not require surgery.
  • Once more popular because of higher success rates, GIFT and ZIFT are now rarely performed because IVF avoids surgery, and the success rates with IVF are now higher than those previously achieved with GIFT and ZIFT.

GIFT: Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer

In a GIFT cycle, egg retrieval is performed just as in IVF. The best eggs are selected, and placed in the woman’s fallopian tube along with her partner’s sperm. (Eggs and sperm are also called gametes, or sex cells.)

In a natural conception, egg and sperm meet in the fallopian tube, the egg is fertilized, and the embryo spends the next 3 to 4 days travelling down the fallopian tube and into the uterus. In GIFT, this is exactly what happens. After the eggs and sperm are placed in the fallopian tube, fertilization ensues, then the embryo’s journey to the uterus and implantation occur naturally.

What are the benefits of GIFT?

GIFT may be acceptable to those who have religious or moral objections to creating embryos in the lab, or to conception occuring outside the body. Since GIFT does not involve creating embryos, there is no possibility that you may have to make a decision whether to store, donate, or dispose of extra embryos.

What are the disadvantages of GIFT?
  • At least one normal functioning fallopian tube is needed.
  • A surgical procedure is required to place the eggs and sperm in the fallopian tube. Laparoscopy is a minor procedure, but any surgical procedure carries the additional risks associated with anesthesia and surgery — as well as additional cost. IVF does not require surgery.
  • It is not possible to monitor whether sperm are actually able to penetrate and fertilize the egg, as with IVF and ZIFT. Because of this, more eggs may be replaced, increasing the chances of a multiple pregnancy.
What is the success rate of GIFT?

The success rate of GIFT appears to be about the same or slightly less than IVF. However, GIFT is performed very rarely in comparison to IVF, so less data is available. 99% of all ART procedures performed in the US are IVF.

ZIFT: Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer

In a ZIFT cycle, egg retrieval is also performed just as in IVF, and the eggs are fertilized in the laboratory. The fertilized egg, which is now called a zygote, is transferred to the fallopian tube on the same day.

Or, the embryo may be incubated for 3 days before being placed in the fallopian tube. This variation of ZIFT is called TET (Tubal Embryo Transfer).

In comparison, in an IVF cycle the embryos would be cultured 3 to 5 days, and placed in the uterus rather than the fallopian tube.

What are the benefits of ZIFT?

Because the embryo will spend a day or two in the fallopian tube before reaching the uterus, just as in a natural conception, the uterus may be better prepared to support the embryo for implantation when it arrives.

What are the disadvantages of ZIFT?
  • At least one normal functioning fallopian tube is needed.
  • A surgical procedure is required to place the embryo in the fallopian tube. Laparoscopy is a minor procedure, but any surgical procedure carries the additional risks associated with anesthesia and surgery — as well as additional cost. IVF does not require surgery.
What is the success rate of ZIFT?

The success rate of ZIFT appears to be about the same as IVF. However, ZIFT is performed very rarely in comparison to IVF, so less data is available. 99% of all ART procedures performed in the US are IVF.