Assisted Hatching is a laboratory procedure performed mostly on cleavage stage embryos (Day 3 of In Vitro development) before being transferred back to the patient’s womb.
During the Assisted Hatching procedure, a small opening is made in the outer shell of the embryo, called the zona pellucida. In order to assist the embryo in breaking out of this shell to facilitate the implantation process.
How is Assisted Hatching Performed?
Assisted Hatching has usually being performed by means of mechanical force using a microneedle and by acid digestion of the outer shell. At Fertility Specialists of Texas, we use the latest cutting-edge laser technology to provide our patients with the fastest, safest and most uniform way of Assisted Hatching available today referred to as Laser Assisted Hatching.
During Laser Assisted Hatching, the outer shell of the embryo is breached by firing a few laser pulses. The laser is fired far away from the cells of the embryo so that the cells are not damaged. This process only takes a few seconds to complete per embryo minimizing the time each embryo is exposed outside of the incubator.
Which patients could benefit from this procedure?
The most common indications are:
- Advanced maternal age (>37 years old).
- Patients with elevated Day 3 follicle stimulating hormone (FSH).
- Thick and/or abnormal egg shell.
- Poor quality/slow developing embryos.
- Embryos exhibiting excessive fragmentation.
- Patient with 2 or more previous failed IVF cycles.
What are the risks of Assisted Hatching?
Current research suggests that this procedure is no more likely to cause an abnormality to the baby than IVF without Laser Assisted Hatching. The outer shell of the embryo is the only one being treated leaving the embryo unharmed.