What is the difference between IVF and GIFT?

What is the difference between IVF and GIFT?

The GIFT procedure does not involve IVF. The main reason for their difference is that fertilization takes place in vivo in the natural environment of the fallopian tube. Let’s get to know GIFT and IVF treatments.

What is IVF?

One or more fertilized eggs (embryos) are transferred into the uterus in IVF. Additional embryos are kept in reserve for upcoming frozen embryo transfer cycles (FET). IVF was originally solely advised for fallopian tube issues. Nowadays, other factors including endometriosis, male factor, or unexplained infertility have been added. IVF is the most popular method and the cornerstone of ART since it allows for either embryo transfer (ET) during the same cycle or the use of cryopreserved embryos during a subsequent cycle.

What is GIFT?

Gamete Intra-fallopian Transfer (GIFT) is one of the assisted reproductive technologies against infertility. First tried by Steptoe and Edwards and later pioneered by endocrinologist Ricardo Asch, the technique involves the process of fertilization taking place in the woman’s womb. With the continuous improvement of IVF clinics in Turkey, the GIFT procedure is less used as pregnancy rates in IVF tend to be equal or better and do not require laparoscopy when the egg is put back. (1)

Oocytes are collected transabdominal or transvaginally during GIFT surgeries, and their quality and maturation are then examined under a microscope in a lab next to the operating room. Gametes are injected 3 to 6 cm distal to one or both fallopian tubes after mature oocytes are aspirated together with a washed partner sperm into a transfer catheter.

Once it is confirmed that the oocytes are not retained, a microscopic examination of the catheter is performed. Since fertilization occurs in vivo in the fallopian tube’s natural environment, the GIFT treatment does not entail IVF. (2)

How is GIFT done? 

A GIFT cycle typically lasts four to six weeks to complete. The woman must first use fertility medication to boost egg production in her ovaries. The woman will receive injections of human chorionic gonadotropin while the ovarian follicles grow under the doctor’s supervision (hCG). A laparoscope will be used to remove the eggs, combine them with the man’s sperm, and then place them back into the woman’s Fallopian tubes after about 36 hours. (3)

What is the success rate of GIFT?

The success of the GIFT operation, as with most fertility treatments, is influenced by the age of the pair and the quality of the woman’s eggs. A third of GIFT cycles are thought to result in twins, triplets, or other multiple births on average. 

Todd Holden, who was born in October 1986, was the first GIFT child in the UK. On May 13, 1986, Latin America was held in Argentina, where the treatment was successfully finished with the birth of Manuel Campo Lopez under the direction of Ricardo Asch. (4)

However, GIFT is not the preferred method these days. It is advised in situations where infertility is brought on by an unknown male factor. It is more common to have an initial IUI if the couple is eligible.

What is Intrauterine insemination (IUI)?

It is a method of ART in which sperm is injected into the uterus during ovulation. It is the ideal course of action in a natural cycle, with or without oral gonadotropins or antiestrogens stimulating the ovaries. IUI and timed sintercourse (TI) both have a nearly identical rate of success. (5)

When to Choose GIFT over IVF?

Selecting GIFT over IVF becomes a pertinent consideration under specific circumstances, primarily when individuals face religious or ethical dilemmas regarding assisted reproductive technologies. GIFT, standing for Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer, offers a distinctive approach by enabling natural fertilization within the fallopian tubes. This method contrasts with In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), where fertilization occurs externally in a laboratory setting. For couples with unobstructed fallopian tubes and a normal sperm count, GIFT emerges as a viable option.

Furthermore, GIFT aligns closely with certain religious and ethical beliefs. It is perceived as more natural because it allows fertilization to take place inside the body. Consequently, it may be more acceptable to those who have reservations about the more manipulative aspects of IVF.

  • GIFT is suited for individuals with intact fallopian tubes.
  • It necessitates an adequate sperm count for consideration.
  • It aligns with specific ethical or religious beliefs favoring natural fertilization processes.

Despite these advantages, it’s crucial to note that GIFT’s success rates typically fall below those of IVF. The controlled environment of IVF offers a higher likelihood of successful fertilization and embryo development. Nonetheless, GIFT remains a significant choice for those who prioritize natural conception methods and adhere to specific religious or ethical guidelines. It’s essential to consult a fertility specialist to thoroughly understand the implications and potential outcomes of choosing GIFT over IVF.

Source:

Punjabi, U., Gerris, J., Bijlen, J. V., Delbeke, L., Gielis, M., & Buytaert, P. (1990). Comparison between different pre-treatment techniques for sperm recovery prior to intrauterine insemination, GIFT or IVF. Human Reproduction, 5(1), 75-83.

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