Assisted hatching is a laboratory procedure that is often performed in conjunction with in vitro fertilization (IVF) to help increase the chances of successful embryo implantation.
Once embryos are created using IVF, the embryo is surrounded by a hard outer layer of cells called the zona pellucida. You can think of this outer layer as the “shell” of the embryo. An embryo must break free of this “shell” in order to implant into the uterus and develop into a pregnancy. Assisted hatching is a procedure where it helps the embryo “hatch” from its “shell” by creating a small crack in the zona pellucida. It is believed that assisted hatching can help an embryo implant in the uterus, leading to higher pregnancy rates in some patients. This procedure is typically used for embryos that have a thick zona pellucida, which can make it more difficult for the embryo to hatch on its own.
The assisted hatching procedure is performed on the day before the embryo transfer, using a variety of techniques. One common method is mechanical hatching. Mechanical hatching involves using a small pipette to create a small hole in the zona pellucida, while acid hatching uses a weak solution of acid to soften the zona pellucida and make it easier for the embryo to hatch. Laser hatching uses a laser beam to make a small hole in the zona pellucida.
The main goal of assisted hatching is to increase the chances of successful implantation and pregnancy. However, it is important to note that there is still ongoing debate within the medical community about the effectiveness of assisted hatching and whether or not it is a necessary procedure.
While some studies have suggested that assisted hatching may be beneficial for certain groups of patients, such as those with a history of repeated IVF failure or those who have embryos with a thick zona pellucida, other studies have not found a significant improvement in pregnancy rates with assisted hatching.
Assisted hatching is typically only recommended for certain groups of patients, such as women over the age of 35, women who have had multiple failed IVF cycles, and women who have a thickened zona pellucida. It is important to note that assisted hatching is not a guarantee of a successful pregnancy, and it may be associated with a slightly increased risk of certain complications, such as a multiple pregnancy or an ectopic pregnancy.
It is worth discussing with a fertility specialist about this procedure and its potential benefits. The specialist will take into account the personal medical history and the specifics of the fertility treatment plan.
In general, it is a good idea to discuss the potential benefits and risks of assisted hatching with a fertility specialist before deciding whether to undergo the procedure. They can help weigh the pros and cons based on individual situation and make an informed decision about what is best for the patient.
Womb Fertility Center provides a range of treatments for infertility. The specialists have extensive working experience with a variety of complex conditions and tailor the treatments to each patient’s individual needs and goals.