Zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT) is similar to IVF and GIFT but, in this procedure, eggs are fertilised in the lab before they’re placed in your fallopian tubes. The fertilised eggs are called zygotes – one celled embryos that have not yet begun to divide into multiple cells.

ZIFT is the most invasive of all fertility treatments, so it’s not usually offered and accounts for less than 1% of assisted reproductive technology procedures.

How does ZIFT work?

It takes four to six weeks to complete one treatment of ZIFT. As with GIFT, the first few steps of ZIFT are similar to those of IVF…

1.      Ovary stimulation

Like most fertility treatments, you’ll be given medication to take to stimulate your ovaries to develop mature eggs and keep your body from releasing eggs too early.

2.      Follicle development

While taking fertility medication, you’ll need to visit your doctor every two to three days so she or he can check your blood hormone levels and take ultrasound measurements of your developing follicles.

3.      Gathering the eggs

When the eggs are ready for retrieval, your doctor will give you an anaesthetic and look at your ovaries using an ultrasound probe. A thin needle is then inserted through your vaginal wall to remove around eight to fifteen eggs.

4.      Fertilisation

Your eggs will then be fertilised with your partner’s or donor’s sperm in a laboratory, where they’ll be monitored closely. A day later, each of the successfully fertilised eggs becomes a single-celled embryo called a zygote.

5.      Surgery

Once a zygote has developed, the doctor will give you an anaesthetic and make a small incision in the abdomen to perform a laparoscopy. One to five zygotes are transferred to the fallopian tubes using the laparoscope (a thin tube). You’ll usually need to rest for while following this procedure.

6.      Implantation

If implantation is successful, the zygote will travel through the fallopian tube and implant in the uterus, where a baby will start to grow. If more than one zygote is transferred, the chance of pregnancy is higher, but so is your risk of having a multiple pregnancy.

Is ZIFT for me?

ZIFT is an option if other treatments have been unsuccessful. You might find ZIFT helpful if any of these factors apply:

  • Ovulation problems
  • Your partner has a low sperm count
  • Unexplained infertility

If your partner has a low sperm count, ZIFT can be used together with intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) – a fertility procedure that boosts the chance of fertilisation by injecting a single sperm directly into an egg.

Don’t forget, you can play our latest quiz, Which Alternative Therapies are Safe During Pregnancy?

  

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Andrew Drakeley

Mr Andrew Drakeley is the Clinical Director at the Hewitt Fertility Centre, working principally at the Liverpool Women’s site but with managerial responsibility for Knutsford.

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