Some infertile couples are affected by conditions that prevent the sperm and egg from traveling through a fallopian tube, where fertilization and the first stage of cell division take place. The following are assisted reproductive technology (ART) procedures that are rarely used but may improve the chances of conception in the fallopian tubes. The first step of each of these treatment cycles is superovulation, the stimulation of multiple egg production with a series of hormone injections.
Gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT) uses multiple eggs collected from the ovaries, which are placed into a thin flexible tube (catheter) along with the sperm to be used. The gametes (both eggs and sperm) are then injected into the fallopian tubes using a surgical procedure called laparoscopy under general anesthesia.
Zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT) combines in vitro fertilization (IVF) and GIFT. Eggs are stimulated and collected using IVF methods, then mixed with sperm in the laboratory. Fertilized eggs (zygotes) are then laparoscopically returned to the fallopian tubes where they will be carried into the uterus. The goal is for the zygote to implant in the uterus and develop into a fetus.
Pronuclear stage tubal transfer (PROST), similar to ZIFT, uses in vitro fertilization but transfers the fertilized egg to the fallopian tube before cell division occurs.
Because of the higher costs and risks related to laparoscopy, and the lesser amount of diagnostic information about embryo development compared with IVF, these procedures are rarely used.
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