The embryo is surrounded by a layer of protein called the zona pellucida and it needs to break out of this outer layer so that it may attach to the wall of the uterus to establish a pregnancy. One of the possible explanations for IVF-failure is thought to be the inability of the embryo to break out of the zonapellucida

What does “Assisted Hatching” mean?

It has been suggested that making a hole in or thinning, this outer layer may help embryos to hatch, which may increase the chances of pregnancy. Assisted Hatching facilitates the embryo hatching process by making small holes in the protein layer using a laser beam before transferring them into the uterus. Assisted hatching is performed by skilled embryologists to assure the safety of this procedure on the embryo.

What are the risks of “Assisted Hatching”?

Research today, suggests that the risk of the baby developing any abnormalities due to this procedure is the same as that in a normal IVF procedure without assisted hatching. Since this procedure involves only the outer layer, the embryo should remain safe. But, like any other procedure, this too has its set of risks linked with it.

In which cases should “Assisted Hatching” been done?

This procedure will not improve the quality of the embryo and it has to be noted, that there is no clear evidence, that assisted hatching will improve pregnancy rates.

Assisted Hatching could be considered in:

  • Older women, as they tend to have eggs with a thicker Zona Pellucida
  • Embryos with thick Zona Pellucida
  • Repeated IVF-trial failure
  • Weak embryo quality in which self-hatching is not expected

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