By Laura Garrido BSc, MSc (embryologist).
Last Update: 02/17/2015

Assisted reproduction techniques are a series of treatments aimed at helping to artificially produce the fertilization of the oocyte by the sperm so the embryo can implant and so a pregnancy can be achieved.

Next, we will describe te Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT)

What is the gamete intrafallopian transfer?

The gamete intrafallopian transfer, GIFT, is a variant of the assisted reproduction techniques available today and that is virtually obsolete. It is only performed for specific moral and ethic reasons in 2% of the treated couples.

It is defined as the extraction of oocytes through a laparoscopic, after a controlled ovarian hyperstimulation followed by the insertion, through the Fallopian tube, of the mixture of the eggs and the sperm of the couple. The fertilization occurs within the body and not in vitro as is usual in this type of techniques.

Union between the egg and the sperm

Advantages and disadvantages of GIFT

The only advantage of this technique is that it silences the moral issues of the couple in treatment. In addition, the pregnancy rate of this technique is lower than that of the in vitro techniques and the likelihood of an ectopic pregnancy is much greater than with any other assisted reproduction technique. Moreover, the likelihood of a multiple pregnancy is higher because, in order to guarantee the success of the treatment, several oocytes have to be introduced in the Fallopian tube along with the sperm.

Process

The first part of the process is similar to any other assisted reproduction technique. With hormonal medication, that the patient herself can administer, a multiple ovulation is achieved and controlled through a series of periodic medical check-ups. The evolution rate of the oocytes is determined by a vaginal ultrasound and blood tests.

Once the adequate follicle size is achieved, ovulation is triggered and, before it occurs, gametes are extracted and mixed with the sperm of the couple so they can be re-introduced in the woman’s body through the fallopian tube, where the female and the male gametes may meet and the fertilization may or may not occur.

Female anatomy

Terms

Regardless of the morality of the couple, this technique can also be performed in case any of the Fallopian tubes are blocked, but it is essential that one of the two, at least, is intact since both male and female gametes must be deposited in that tube and, in case of fertilization, the embryo has to descend through the tube so it can implant in the endometrium, within the uterine cavity. If both tubes are obstructed the embryo cannot reach the uterine cavity.

Moreover, it is also necessary that the semen sample has an adequate number of spermatozoids and that their mobility is enough to reach some of the oocytes that will be in the same area as the semen.

Success of the technique

Success rates are much lower than that of any other in vitro technique. This rate is of around 20%.

This, added with the scars this technique causes and the complexity of the technique – the laparoscopy requires general anesthesia – have caused this technique to become virtually obsolete.

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Authors and contributors

 Laura Garrido
BSc, MSc
Embryologist
Bachelor's Degree in Biotechnology from the Pablo de Olavide University (UPO) of Seville, Spain. Master's Degree in Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction from the University of Valencia (UV) and the Valencian Infertility Institute (IVI). Experience at IVF, andrology, and general analysis laboratories. Embryologist specialized in Assisted Reproduction. More information
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