GIFT can also be classified as a four-step process. This form of assisted reproduction involves the same first and second step as in vitro fertilization, namely superovulation and monitoring follicular and endometrial growth by ultrasound.
The third and fourth steps occur in the operating room of a hospital where the patient is placed under general anaesthesia. The eggs are retrieved, again by ultrasound-guided-aspiration of the follicles on the ovaries. A previously washed and prepared sperm specimen is obtained. The eggs and sperms are then placed together in a catheter.
In step four, a laparoscopy is performed on the patient and a small camera is placed just under the naval into the pelvic area. The fallopian tube is then grasped using special instruments and the catheter containing the eggs and sperm are threaded into the fallopian tube. The eggs and sperm are then implanted into the fallopian tube.
The idea is to circumvent physical barriers to normal egg and sperm transport due to adhesions, endometriosis, and immunological problems. Although the process places the egg and sperm in close proximity which enhances the chance of collision, it does not guarantee fertilization. Extra eggs can be taken back to the lab for in vitro fertilization and possible embryo freezing for future use. This also helps determine if normal fertilization can take place. In cases of questionable sperm motility or fusion, achieving fertilization in the lab may be preferable. It is difficult to improve on mother nature and we recommend a patient consider GIFT over IVF if she has open, healthy fallopian tubes and her husband has normal sperm.
National statistics for women 39 or less with no male factor is 39% pregnancy rate per gamete transfer, for women over 39 with no male factor it is a 20% pregnancy rate per gamete transfer. Keep in mind that delivery rates per gamete transfer will be less due to miscarriage.