What is Assisted Hatching?
Assisted hatching is a relatively new technique used during certain IVF procedures. It is performed in order to help an embryo hatch out of its protective layering and implant into the uterus.
How is Assisted Hatching Performed?
Assisted hatching is a very delicate procedure, requiring immense skill and sophisticated instrumentation. It is performed using following micromanipulation techniques.
2. Mechanical opening (partial zona dissection) by glass micro needle
3. Laser photoablation ; either a hole (15-20 µ) is made on the zona pellicuda or partial zona thinning is done by using laser shot.
This technique involves the creation of a precise gap in the zona pellicuda of selected embryos using a 1.48 micron infrared diode laser. This specifically designed laser system includes the laser, which serves as the energy source to create an opening in the zona pellicuda, and a computer which allows the operator to precisely control the laser energy output, laser pulse duration, and gap size.
The computer assisted laser method is more precise, resulting in a more consistent zona pellicuda opening. This technique is also more quickly mastered by the embryologist. Laser assisted hatching takes less time and does not expose the embryos to potentially adverse chemicals, so embryos spend less time out of optimal culture conditions. It also requires significantly less physical manipulation of the embryos. The cumulative effect of these factors is to minimize the stress placed upon the embryo during the performance of assisted hatching.
Assisted hatching has demonstrated the potential for improving embryo implantation rates, and clinical pregnancy rates in select patient groups undergoing IVF. Infertile couples considering advanced assisted reproductive treatments should consult with their reproductive specialist regarding their candidacy for assisted hatching.
Who Can Use Assisted Hatching?
Assisted hatching techniques are required for some couples. Instead, the procedure is typically recommended for: