Assisted Hatching

Assisted Hatching Protects Embryos and Boosts IVF Success Rates

As an egg matures within the follicle of an ovary, it develops a hard protective “shell” around it called the zona pellucida. This shell protects the egg, as well as the embryo, as it travels through the female reproductive tract until it reaches the uterus.

Once the embryo comes to rest in the uterus, on about day 5 or 6, the growing number of new cells in the embryo start to push outward and begin to thin the zona pellucida. Eventually, this process allows the embryo to hatch out of the zona and attach to the uterine wall. If this hatching process is not complete, the embryo will not attach to the uterus, and the pregnancy will not continue.

Some embryos may have difficulty with the natural hatching process and therefore never attach to the uterus.

IVF Plano Embryologists Can Help Increase the Chances for Implantation

Embryologists assist the hatching process by creating a small hole in the zona to help free the embryo on Day 3 of the IVF process. Fertility specialists employ two methods for assisted hatching:

Assisted Hatching with Acid Tyrode

The traditional method of assisted hatching involves a chemical solution, called acid tyrode. A very small concentration of acid tyrode is placed on the surface of the zona pellucida to open this outer covering, freeing the embryo for implantation.

Assisted Hatching with Laser Technology

In partnership with the fertility lab at Presbyterian ARTS, Dr. Douglas offers assisted hatching with laser technology. The same lasers that revolutionized surgery by providing a less invasive and more precise alternative to cutting now give embryologists the upper hand when performing assisted hatching in the lab.

As a leading edge medical advance, laser-assisted hatching better protects fragile embryos and minimizes the time the embryo lives outside the incubator. Precision lasers eliminate the need for acid and expedite the entire procedure. We also utilize laser technology in preimplantation genetic screening (PGS).

Embryos older than day 3 typically do not require assisted hatching because the cell mass within the shell is so large that it is already beginning to thin the zona and crack the shell on its own. If you have experienced recurrent miscarriage or previous failed attempts at IFV, assisted hatching may benefit you.

Contact IVF Plano to find out more about assisted hatching.