Prior to embryo attachment on the uterus, the embryo is hatched from the outer layer (zona pellucida) protecting the embryo.
Hatching of the zona is necessary for embryo implantation to occur and establish a pregnancy. Not all patients need assisted hatching, in most cases this happens naturally. However, Assisted Hatching (AH) has shown to improve embryo implantation and pregnancy rates in the following groups:
a) Patients of advanced maternal age
b) Patients with abnormally thickened zona pellucida
c) Patients with previous IVF failures
d) Cases where possible hardening of the zona pellucida may be imposed by the freezing-thawing of embryos
Scientists introduced a method to aid the process of hatching in IVF by making a small hole on the outer layer of the embryo. This can be done by a microtool/micropipette or by the use of a microlaser. Our laboratory uses a microlaser to perform this technique on embryos that fit the criteria for this procedure to be used.