Gamete Intra-Fallopian Transfer with Donor Sperm
If you are thinking of GIFT (Gamete Intra- Fallopian Transfer) as an Assisted Reproductive Technique it is important to have a good understanding of what is involved.
People often get confused between In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) and GIFT. The difference is mainly the fertilisation site. In the former, fertilisation is produced in the laboratory; whilst in the latter it occurs naturally within the fallopian tubes.
Gamete Intra- fallopian tube transfer may be preferable by many since fertilisation occurs in its natural site, the fallopian tubes. This option however, may not be available for every couple since it involves having at least one normal fallopian tube. GIFT can be preformed using both donor eggs and donor sperm.
Deciding on a sperm specimen is one of the most important decisions in this process. Both fresh and frozen specimens offer advantages and disadvantages. The advantages of frozen sperm include; a thorough analysis for genetic defects, HIV testing of the specimen and greater availability. Sperm Banks also provide options regarding profile and physical traits, which is another advantage as well. Advantages of a fresh specimen includes, knowing the donor and adding a more personal touch to an otherwise mechanical process.
The whole operative procedure usually takes a few hours. It is a very delicate procedure requiring skilled hands and special care to minimise infection. The various stages of GIFT are described below.
Stages in GIFT are:
- Sperm Selection
The first step in this procedure involves selecting the appropriate specimen for transfer. Whether the specimen is frozen or fresh, the procedure is basically unchanged.
- Ovulation Stimulation
After the sperm specimen is selected, the would-be-mother usually undergoes treatment with fertility drugs. This helps ensure an appropriate number of suitable eggs to be harvested from the ovary. The fertility treatment usually takes 4- 6 weeks.
- Follicular Aspiration
Follicular aspiration is a procedure designed to extract the eggs from within the follicles. It is preformed by puncturing the ovary with a fine needle; the needle is introduced either through the vagina or the abdomen.
The retrieved eggs are inspected and only the best will be selected. Depending on the sperm specimen the selected individual or the frozen sperm specimen will be used to supply the sperm. The eggs together with the sperm specimen will be inserted into the fallopian tube using a special catheter. This catheter is guided to its appropriate location using a laparoscope. The laparoscope is a specialised internal camera used to visualise the internal structures and organs.
The catheter is gently inserted via the laparoscope, into the outer ends of either one or both fallopian tubes. The eggs together with the sperm (gametes) are flushed into the woman's fallopian tubes so that fertilisation occurs inside the body.