Assisted Hatching

What is Assisted Hatching?

  • Assisted Hatching is a scientific technique practiced in In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) that may enhance the implantation of embryos into a female’s uterine lining by creating an opening through, which the embryonic cells can hatch out.
  • It is used to assist the embryo hatch from its protective exterior shell, the zona pellucida, and promote implantation in the uterine wall following embryo transfer.

What is Laser Assisted Hatching?

  • Laser-assisted hatching (LAH) uses a highly focused infrared laser beam over the zona pellucida to make a small opening, between 10-20 microns to facilitate embryo hatching. LAH is done just before the Embryo Transfer.
  • LAH requires less handling of the embryo than any other assisted hatching methods.
  • It is faster than the other methods and, therefore, the embryo spends less time outside the incubator.
  • It improves implantation and helps strengthen the Pregnancy rates.

Which patients could benefit from this procedure?

The following patients can benefit from LAH:

  • Advanced maternal age (>37 years old).
  • Patients with elevated baseline level of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH).
  • Women with poor prognosis embryos, including conditions such as a thick zona pellucida, slow cell division rate, or high cell fragmentation
  • Poor quality/slow developing embryos.
  • Embryos are exhibiting excessive fragmentation.
  • Patient with two or more past failed IVF cycles.

What is the necessary treatment procedure?

LAH process involves the following steps:

Step 1
On day three of embryo development, the embryologist uses either weak acid in a fine glass pipette, a microlaser or a micro tool to thin or cut a hole in the external layer of the embryo.

Step 2
If weak acid was used, the embryo is washed to prevent further damage.

Step 3
Because the assisted hatching thins the protective outer layer around the embryo or makes a hole in it, the woman may be given antibiotics to prevent infection.