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Definition of Zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT)

Zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT): A technique in which a woman's egg is fertilized outside the body, then implanted in one of her fallopian tubes. This technique is one of the methods used to overcome infertility, the inability of couples to produce offspring on their own.

First, the egg and the male sperm needed to fertilize it are harvested. Then the egg and the sperm are united in a petri dish, a multi-purpose glass or plastic container with a lid. If all goes well, the sperm fertilizes the egg, and the physicians then implant it in a fallopian tube. From there, nature takes its course, and the egg eventually is deposited by the fallopian tube into the uterus (womb) for development.

A zygote is the combined cell resulting from the union of sperm and egg. A zygote develops into an embryo. An embryo, a mass of cells with no recognizable human features, begins formation of a human body. After about seven or eight weeks, the embryo exhibits recognizable features such as a mouth and ears. At this stage, the developing human becomes known as a fetus. The word "zygote" is derived from the Greek word "zygon" (yoke).

The term "intrafallopian" means "inside the fallopian tubes." ("Intra," a Latin word, means "within" or "inside.") Thus, the term "zygote intrafallopian transfer" refers to the transfer of a zygote into a fallopian tube.

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=12411
Last Editorial Review: 6/14/2012

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