What is assisted hatching?
Embryo hatching is essential to achieve successful implantation. However, sometimes embryos fail to hatch during IVF. Some clinicians will use a method called assisted hatching to increase the chances of pregnancy. In assisted hatching, the clinician creates a small hole or crack in the outer shell of the embryo, called the zona pellucida layer.
Breaking the outer layer
Creating a hole in the outer shell can be done in a few ways. One way is by using an acid solution that melts a small hole. Another way is by using a tiny laser to create a small tear in the shell. Laser assisted hatching improves the chances of clinical pregnancy rate.
Benefits of cracking the embryo
One significant reason to break the shell is to increase the chances of implantation and pregnancy. Assisted laser hatching is also beneficial for patients wanting to have preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) performed. PGD checks for any genetic abnormalities before the embryo is implanted. With assisted hatching, getting the biopsy for PGD becomes simpler.
Laser assisted hatching benefits
There are various ways to create a hole in the shell, but laser assisted hatching is the most popular. This type of hatching has many advantages. Laser assisted hatching saves time, and fewer laser shots are needed. The duration of time that the embryos are kept outside the incubator is also less with this method. The risk of exposing high temperatures to proximity areas of the embryo is minimal.
Who needs assisted hatching?
In IVF, breaking the shell is not for every patient. Assisted hatching is usually for women older than 37 years old and those who have had previously failed IVF cycles. Speak to the fertility specialist to determine if assisted hatching can help.
Risk of twins
Assisted hatching is considerably safe overall, and the risks are minimal. There is a risk of developing identical twins with assisted hatching. Identical twin pregnancies tend to have more complications than singleton pregnancies. The chances of developing multiple pregnancies will vary from patient to patient.
Break the cycle
Infertility and IVF can be stressful for many couples, but technology can help increase the chances of a successful pregnancy. Healthcare providers will work with the patient to determine if laser assisted hatching can be beneficial. Breaking the shell can help break the cycle of unsuccessful fertility treatments, helping people achieve success with IVF and build a family.