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Transcervical gamete and zygote intrafallopian transfer. Does it enhance pregnancy rates in an assisted reproduction program?

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the role of early tubal transfer procedures, we compared outcomes of transcervical gamete intrafallopian transfer (TC-GIFT) and transcervical zygote intrafallopian transfer (TC-ZIFT) versus in vitro fertilization/embryo transfer during the first two years of our assisted reproduction (AR) program.

STUDY DESIGN: Prospective, nonrandomized, concurrent, controlled comparison of TC-GIFT and TC-ZIFT pregnancy outcomes versus those after IVF-ET. All cycles for patients less than age 39 undergoing transfer of at least three viable oocytes, zygotes or embryos in the first two years of our program were included. Patients with normal fallopian tubes underwent TC-GIFT (n = 9) or TC-ZIFT (n = 12), whereas those with tubal compromise underwent IVF-ET (n = 28).

RESULTS: Implantation rates were 4.2% for TC-ZIFT, 2.8% for TC-GIFT and 3.7% for combined TC procedures as compared to 7.4% for IVF-ET. Delivery rates were no different for the TC procedures than the IVF-ET procedures (14%). Patients ages, number of oocytes retrieved and number transferred were comparable between the TC and IVF-ET groups.

CONCLUSION: TC-GIFT and TC-ZIFT did not enhance the pregnancy outcome as compared to IVF-ET in the first two years of our AR program. Ultrasound-directed tubal catheterization is harder to learn and more difficult and expensive to perform than simple uterine embryo transfer. Since we could not demonstrate an improved outcome for TC transfers even in a new AR program, IVF-ET and laparoscopic GIFT are now our procedures of choice.

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