ZIFT and GIFT are modified in vitro fertilisation (IVF) techniques. Similar to IVF, these methods retrieve eggs from the woman which are then combined in a lab with sperm before being transferred back into the body. The main difference is that ZIFT and GIFT procedures are faster. In IVF embryos are grown in the lab for several days prior to transfer. Conversely, in ZIFT fertilised eggs (zygotes) are transferred into the fallopian tubes in under 24 hours. GIFT is even faster, with sperm and eggs mixed together and then transferred.
Both ZIFT and GIFT closely mimic natural conception. In ZIFT, rather than placing the fertilised eggs directly into the uterus, they are placed in the fallopian tubes. The process is similar for GIFT, except the fertilisation takes place within the fallopian tubes rather than in a lab. The conception rates for GIFT and ZIFT are similar to IVF. However, both procedures require surgery to transfer the zygotes or gametes into the fallopian tubes.
GIFT is slightly less expensive than ZIFT because fertilisation takes place naturally within the fallopian tubes. However, it doesn’t offer the same assurance as GIFT because fertilisation cannot be confirmed. GIFT often appeals to couples with religious beliefs that disallow conception outside of the body.
When is ZIFT or GIFT recommended?
A fertility specialist may recommend ZIFT or GIFT if:
- Ovulatory problems are present
- Male partner has a low sperm count
- Pregnancy has not been achieved after one year of actively trying to conceive
- Other fertility treatments such as IUI or ICI have been unsuccessful
In certain situations ZIFT and GIFT treatments are not suitable:
- The fallopian tubes are blocked or severely damaged
- There are uterine irregularities such as adhesions or a malformed uterus
Pre-treatment checks & procedures
To ensure that ZIFT or GIFT fertility treatments are suitable, both partners will require a series of tests. These pre-treatment checks will assess current reproductive health and discuss reproductive history. The pre-treatment checks and procedures for ZIFT and GIFT are very similar to IVF.
The main difference between IVF and ZIFT/GIFT procedures is that zygotes or gametes are surgically inserted into the fallopian tubes, rather than inserting embryos into the uterus. This makes ZIFT/GIFT procedures more invasive as two surgical procedures are necessary: one to remove the eggs and one to insert the zygotes/gametes.
To insert the zygotes or gametes into the fallopian tube a procedure called a laparoscopy is used. During this procedure a catheter is surgically inserted deep into the fallopian tubes and the zygotes or gametes are injected.
ZIFT and GIFT procedures are slightly faster than IVF, although only by a few days. A full cycle will take approximately four to five weeks. GIFT is slightly shorter since fertilisation takes place naturally within the fallopian tubes rather than in a laboratory.
Both ZIFT and GIFT procedures have similar success rates to conventional IVF. GIFT can be slightly more variable because the eggs are not fertilised prior to insertion into the fallopian tube.
Generally, most clinics will recommend IVF over ZIFT or GIFT because it doesn’t require a second surgical procedure. For this reason, the numbers of ZIFT and GIFT procedures preformed are declining.
With any ARTs, it’s important to be as healthy as possible during the lead up to the procedure and following the treatment. This applies to both male and female partners. Eating well, avoiding stress, getting plenty of sleep; these are just a few of the measures that can be taken to improve conception chances. Your fertility specialist will be able to recommend steps you can take to enhance your probabilities of falling pregnant.
Making sure you have enough essential nutrients is very important:Key nutrients for female fertility Key nutrients for male fertility
Cost of ZIFT and GIFT
The cost of ZIFT and GIFT procedures will vary depending on individual circumstances and where you live. In some situations there may be public funding available. Many couples choose to have these procedures done privately to avoid waiting lists. There is also the option of having the procedure abroad to cut costs. For more information about the cost of ZIFT or GIFT speak to a local fertility specialist.Select your location