Experience with GIFT has shown that couples with male factor infertility have a significantly lower success rate than couples experiencing other problems. This is believed to be caused because, in the GIFT procedure, there is no way to verify whether fertilization does, in fact, take place.
This problem can be overcome using ZIFT, which is a combined procedure between IVF and GIFT. The first three steps of a ZIFT procedure are identical to the IVF procedure. This allows the determination of normal fertilization before the patient has to undergo a surgical procedure and general anesthesia.
After fertilization has been achieved, the patient is then taken to the operating room at the hospital and placed under general anesthesia. Step four then becomes identical to step four in the GIFT procedure only pronuclear embryos are placed in the catheter and transferred to the tube instead of gametes.
National statistics for women 39 or less with severe male factor is 28% pregnancy rate/zygote transfer.
If pregnancy is successfully established with any of the aggressive Assisted Reproductive Technologies, multiple gestations, miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, preeclampsia, stillbirth, and/or congenital anomalies (birth defects) may occur. The miscarriage rate is equivalent to that seen in pregnancies with superovulation without Assisted Reproduction but is slightly higher than natural cycle pregnancies. Ectopic (tubal) pregnancies may have a higher incidence than in the general population, but this is more a factor of chance reflux into the tube during embryo transfer or tubal status which is not caused by the procedure itself. The incidence of stillbirth or congenital anomalies is not increased beyond that seen in the general population. Multiple gestation is a REAL risk. Reduction in fetal numbers should be a consideration in gestations beyond triplets.