Infertility is a cause of growing concern in India. As per the Indian Society of Assisted Reproduction, currently, about 10 – 14% of the population, with higher rates in urban, are affected by infertility in the country. But that does not mean couples cannot experience the joy of parenthood! For couples who are suffering from infertility; various ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) techniques are available to assist in conceiving.
Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT) Procedure is one such technique, in which eggs are extracted from a woman’s ovaries, and planted in a fallopian tube along with the man’s sperm. Thus, fertilization takes place inside the body, unlike IVF where an egg is combined with the sperm outside the body.
Who Can Benefit From GIFT?
For women who haven’t been able to get pregnant with normal In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), GIFT can be considered. GIFT can be used in various types of infertility, except those cases where there is damage detected in the fallopian tubes.
Further, some couples are reluctant to go for the IVF method, as it involves fertilization taking place outside the body, and in a petri dish or test tube. In GIFT, since the fertilization technically takes place inside the fallopian tubes, it is seen as less ‘artificial’ as compared to IVF.
The Method of GIFT Procedure
Just like IVF, GIFT involves retrieving an egg from the woman, which is then combined with sperm. While in IVF the embryos are observed and nurtured in a laboratory for a couple of days, in GIFT the embryos are placed in the woman’s fallopian tubes within 24 hours.
The entire process in GIFT takes around 4-6 weeks, which are enumerated as below:
First, the woman is prescribed a fertility drug that helps trigger the egg production
Next, the doctor monitors the growth of the ovarian follicles (which contain an immature egg), and once they mature, the woman is given a small amount of hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) which helps in the production of progesterone to maintain the pregnancy.
These mature eggs are then harvested after around 36 hours, which are combined with the sperm and placed into the Fallopian tubes with the help of a laparoscope.
Chances For Pregnancy
For most fertility techniques to be successful, the couple’s age as well as the woman’s egg quality can be determining factors. It is estimated that around 25–30% of GIFT cycles result in pregnancy.
Although currently, GIFT is not as popular as IVF, it is increasingly gaining popularity among women for whom IVF wasn’t effective. However, due caution should be employed when choosing the clinic for undergoing this technique.
If the woman is unable to produce eggs to be used in the GIFT technique, but her partner’s sperm is healthy enough for fertilization, the couple can consider getting eggs from a donor.
Several couples are now coming forward to make use of GIFT – which, as the name suggests, gives them the incomparable gift of parenthood.