Three Different Procedures Account For Most Of Today's Infertility Treatments

Three different procedures account for most of today's infertility treatments that use assisted reproductive technology (ART). Here's a look at what's being done.

Alphabet soup name: IVF

  • Official name: In vitro fertilization
  • Key word: "In vitro" -- Latin for "in glass," referring to the lab equipment used
  • How it's done: Eggs are extracted from the ovaries and fertilized with sperm in vitro. Any embryos created are transferred to the uterus via the cervix.
  • Interesting facts: Singer Celine Dion's son Rene was conceived with the help of IVF... and so were the McCaughey septuplets.


    Alphabet soup name: GIFT
  • Official name: Gamete intrafallopian transfer
  • Key word: "Gamete" -- a male or female reproductive cell (the egg or sperm).
  • How it's done: Eggs are harvested and then combined with sperm before fertilization occurs. A laparoscope (a fiber optic surgical instrument) is used to deliver the unfertilized gametes into the fallopian tubes. The scope does its work via small abdominal incisions.
  • Interesting fact: Some religions forbid conception outside of the woman's body, so GIFT is a good workaround solution.

    Alphabet soup name: ZIFT

  • Official name: Zygote intrafallopian transfer
  • Key word: "Zygote" -- unfertilized egg
  • How it's done: Eggs are harvested and combined with sperm. A laparoscope is used to deliver the fertilized eggs into the fallopian tubes via small abdominal incisions.
  • Interesting fact: Time (12?16 hours) is one of the main differences between this procedure and GIFT. In ZIFT, the eggs are fertilized before they're placed in the

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