Gamete intra-Fallopian Transfer (GIFT) explained
Gamete intra-Fallopian Transfer (GIFT) is an assisted fertilisation technique, which is no longer used by most clinics in the United Kingdom
It can only be used where a woman has at least one normal fallopian tube - this sometimes involved undergoing an initial assessment laparoscopy to view the tubes and ensure they were open. When it was a popular technique, GIFT was mainly used where infertility was unexplained, and where donor eggs and/or sperm were used.
GIFT involves collecting eggs from the female partner or donor - usually following stimulation with fertility drugs in a similar way to an IVF cycle. This ensures a number of suitable eggs are harvested at the appropriate time, and the developing eggs will be monitored by ultrasound scans and blood and urine tests.
Once the developing eggs are mature, the woman receives an injection of Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin (HCG) and the eggs are harvested around 36 hours later. The recovered eggs are then inspected, and the best two or three are mixed in a narrow catheter tube with a fresh sample of the male partner's sperm.
The catheter is then gently inserted via a laparoscope, into the outer ends of one or both fallopian tubes and the egg and sperm (gametes) are flushed into the woman's fallopian tubes so that fertilisation occurs inside the body. Success rates are slightly greater than for standard IVF, at between 25 per cent and 30 per cent, per treatment cycle. As an extra laparoscopy and general anaesthetic are needed, however, the extra risk and inconvenience may not justify the procedure unless the clinic has a poor success rate with IVF.
Infertility Network UK (formed from the merger of CHILD and ISSUE)
Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA)
Success rates for individual clinics are available from the HFEA