Assisted Embryo Hatching
During the initial stages of development, an embryo is contained in a layer of proteins known as the zona pellucida. For a variety of reasons, some embryos do not successfully hatch out of this coating and subsequently cannot implant in the uterus. Assisted embryo hatching is a lab technique that was developed when it was observed that embryos with a thin zona pellucida had a higher rate of implantation during in vitro fertilization (IVF). Assisted hatching may be recommended for women who have failed IVF or for women over 35.
Performed in conjunction with an IVF cycle and prior to embryo transfer, assisted hatching involves an embryologist thinning the zona pellucida by create a small hole in the outer lining using micromanipulation techniques under a microscope during the fourth day of embryo development. Assisted hatching is a part of our PGD process; therefore patients who opt for PGD automatically receive this additional service.
What Are the Steps to Assisted Embryo Hatching?
Step One: The embryo is held with a specialized holding pipette. A very delicate, hollow needle is used to expel the acidic solution against the outer “shell” (zona pellucida) of the embryo. The acidic solution creates a small hole in the shell.
Step Two: The embryo is then washed and put back in culture in the incubator.
Step Three: Shortly after the hatching procedure, the embryo is transferred to the uterus where it will hopefully implant and develop to result in a birth.