Monday, November 17, 2014

ZIFT has a higher pregnancy rate than IVF

For most infertile patients , embryo transfer is an easy procedure. However, there are some patients where the embryo transfer is technically difficult. These are patients who have cervical stenosis ( as a result of a cervical infection, or cervical scarring after conisation)  ; or a very tortuous and angulated cervix, as a result of which it is difficult for the doctor to negotiate the catheter through the cervix . He finds it hard to deposit your precious embryos into the uterine cavity because the catheter is soft and flexible and does not pass easily through the cervical canal.

When the embryo transfer is difficult , there may be bleeding as a result of the trauma caused to the cervix; and this trauma and bleeding can damage the embryos, resulting in a reduced pregnancy rate.

Doctors have developed clever ways of overcoming this challenging problem. For example , there are catheter sets with stylets, which help doctors to negotiate the canal; and a Towako set even allows the doctor to deposit the embryos directly into the cavity by puncturing the uterine wall.

However, the pregnancy rates with these techniques is often poor because they can harm the embryos, which need to be handled with love and care !

A far better option, if your fallopian tubes are open, is to do a ZIFT - a zygote intrafallopian transfer ( also known as a  TET or tubal embryo transfer).

In this technique, the doctor transfers your embryos directly into your fallopian tubes. This allows him to bypass the cervix, so that he can put the embryos back where they belong - into your fallopian tubes. They will now be guided by the cilia lining the tune into the uterine cavity, where they can implant safely.

The pregnancy rate with ZIFT has always been higher than with IVF. This is quite logical , because we are transferring Day 1, Day 2 or Day 3 embryos back into the fallopian tube, which is where they belong, rather than into the uterus  .

So why don't all IVF clinics offer ZIFT routinely ?  For one, it is more expensive. Also, the technique has fallen into disfavour because the doctor needs to do a laparoscopy in order to do a ZIFT, and most IVF clinics do not have access to a fully equipped Operating Room.

However, ZIFT can be a very useful option for patients who have multiple IVF attempts because of a technically difficult transfer.

You can read more about the ZIFT technique at

Have your embryos transfers been painful and time consuming ? Did the doctor find it difficult to deposit your embryos into your cavity ? If so, then you should consider finding a clinic which offers ZIFT.

Please send me your medical details by filling in the form at so I can guide you sensibly!

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