What is Assisted Embryo Hatching?
At the early stages of development, the embryo is held in a layer of proteins called the zona pellucida. IVF cycles may fail due to the inability of the embryo to hatch out of this layer of proteins and are prevented from implanting 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). Women over the age of 35 are recommended to try assisted embryo hatching to improve implantation success.
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 Day 4 of embryo development. Assisted hatching is a part of our PGD process; therefore patients who opt for PGD automatically receive this additional service.
The Process of Assisted Embryo Hatching
Step 1: Thinning or Rupture
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 2: Washing
The embryo is then washed and put back to culture in the incubator.
Step 3: Transfer
The day after hatching, the embryo is transferred to the uterus where it will hopefully implant and result in a successful pregnancy.
Who should consider Assisted Embryo Hatching?
- Women over the age of 35
- Patients who have had multiple failures with IVF cycles
- Patients with abnormal zonae