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Assisted Hatching: What is it and why does my IVF Clinic do it?

What is it and why does my IVF Clinic do it

Assisted Hatching: What is it and why does my IVF Clinic do it?

Assisted hatching is a laboratory procedure that is sometimes performed along with in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment. ⁠Assisted hatching is where an opening is created in the zona pellucida of an embryo. This is the outer coating (shell) of proteins. The embryo naturally breaks out of this shell as it grows. By doing this, it assists the embryo in hatching and attaching to the wall of the uterus for implantation.⁠

The hope is that assisted hatching might give the embryo extra room to expand, less stress escaping the zona to implant in the uterine wall, and finally lead to a pregnancy.⁠ Studies suggest that assisted hatching might help improve pregnancy chances for certain groups of patients. Assisted hatching may help improve pregnancy chances in women who have failed to get pregnant in previous IVF cycles and those with a poor prognosis (who are not likely to conceive).

During assisted hatching, the outer shell of the embryo is artificially weakened by making a small hole in the zona pellucida.⁠

Assisted Hatching: What is it and why does my IVF Clinic do it?

It may help improve pregnancy chances in women who have failed to get pregnant in previous IVF cycles and those with a poor prognosis (who are not likely to conceive).⁠

Reasons to Perform Assisted Hatching

If you had PGT performed on your embryos, then they were hatched before being biopsied. However, they may be hatched again with the laser after the embryo is thawed. ⁠We typically only freeze embryos that we think are destined for success-no matter what their grade is. The grade is simply a snapshot in time, and can change after biopsy/freezing and thawing. A top quality embryo can thaw terribly and vice versa. There is some evidence that assisted hatching helps embryos implant.

Potential Risks

Some people think that IVF in general may increase the risk of having a twin pregnancy. Influencing factors include the oocyte age being < 35 years old, prolonging the embryo culture, micromanipulation of the zona pellucida after procedures such as intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) or assisted hatching (AH), and after fresh embryo transfer. (Tarlatzis 2002; Jian 2004; Knopman 2014; Kanter 2015).

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