GIFT and ZIFT
GIFT: What You Can Expect
The initial process for GIFT is the same as it would be for in vitro fertilization: treatment with injectable hormones to start superovulation, followed by further injections of a medication that ripens the developing eggs. The facility where the procedure will be done will provide you with special instructions to prepare you for the procedure.
The eggs and sperm are collected just as they would be in an IVF procedure, but after that, the two techniques differ. In IVF, the embryo is placed into the uterus at 3-5 days with a catheter inserted into the vagina in a quick and simple procedure. In GIFT, an incision has to be made in the abdomen and the eggs and sperm are immediately placed in the fallopian tubes using a laparoscope, a small telescope-like instrument. A laparoscopy requires general anesthesia, although it can still usually be performed as an outpatient procedure.
If all goes well, once the eggs are in the fallopian tubes, at least one will become fertilized by the sperm and move on to the uterus, where it will mature. But, because the eggs and sperm are placed into the fallopian tubes before conception, there's no way to know if fertilization has taken place. Typically, more eggs are used in GIFT to ensure pregnancy, which also increases the risk of multiple births.
The American Society of Reproductive Medicine recommends that GIFT only be performed in a facility that is prepared to carry out IVF as an alternative or in addition to GIFT.
ZIFT: What You Can Expect
This procedure is similar to GIFT in that the assisted reproduction is done in the fallopian tubes. The difference is that with ZIFT the sperm and egg are mixed together in the laboratory, and given time to fertilize before being placed in the fallopian tubes. In this sense, ZIFT is closer to traditional in vitro fertilization. ZIFT, like GIFT, requires treatment with hormones, and the procedure is performed by laparoscopy. Because ZIFT allows for fertilization to be confirmed before the eggs are inserted into the fallopian tubes, fewer eggs are usually used, lowering the risk of multiple pregnancy.