All surplus embryos of good quality may be kept in long-term frozen storage by using cryoprotectants which are special chemicals to prevent damage during freezing. The embryos are kept in long-term storage safe from environmental toxins.
Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT)
This procedure involves the placement of washed sperm cells and mature eggs directly into the fallopian tube using laparoscopy. Stimulation of the woman's ovaries and the retrieval of the eggs is performed by the same methods as those used for IVF.
In some cases a woman has adequate ovarian reserve, resulting in the successful production of mature preovulatory "oocytes" or eggs. However, she may have an absenct or damaged uterus. In such cases a surrogate is used who carries the embryo derived from the mother's eggs and the father's sperm. The woman carrier is called the gestational surragate, since she is allowing the gestation of someone else's embryo who is not biologically connected to her from a genetic basis.
In Vitro Fertilization and Embryo Transfer (IVF & ET)
This is the basic and most popular technique of assisted reproduction. It involves the recruitment of multiple follicle cysts using hormone stimulants, the retrieval of eggs through the vagina, fertilization of the eggs in the laboratory and a transfer of embryos grown in culture for 3-5 days. The procedures are all performed on an outpatient basis through the vagina. Embryo transfer is performed with a plastic catheter during a simple pelvic exam.
In some women the age of the egg precludes the likely success in in vitro fertilization. In those cases, an egg donor may be chosen so that a younger woman's eggs can be used to enhance the likelihood of conception. The egg donor is matched based on ethnic, social and physical characteristics.
Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer (ZIFT)
This procedure involves the placement of the single-celled embryo or "zygote" directly into the fallopian tube utilizing a laparoscope. The rationale for this procedure is that the zygote is normally fertilized in the fallopian tube and hence implantation may be enhanced in some cases following ZIFT.