Assisted hatching in detail
Assisted hatching is an in vitro process of “cracking” the outer shell of the embryo that is done in terms of an IVF program. The procedure is implemented before the embryo transfer to facilitate the implantation of a gestational sac to the mucous membrane of the uterus and increase the chances for pregnancy. It is recommended when there is a high probability that the embryo is not capable of breaking the protective capsule and implanting without assistance.
For Life Line care center embryologists the procedure of hatching is an everyday and fully-crafted piece of work. In addition to high proficiency level, our specialists possess the immense practical experience and are also well-equipped. These are the reasons why the procedure of hatching is always performed impeccably. In our clinics hatching is conducted via laser which is considered to be a cutting-edge and the safest technology for the future baby.
What is Embryo Hatching?
Implantation failure is the most common reason for the failure of an in vitro fertilization cycle. The patients are particularly sensitive to such misfortunes: the progress was stable along the way (successful oocyte and embryo retrieval, successful transferring procedure) and there was hope for the desired outcome...
Owing to advances in reproductive technology specialists have managed to find the reason for this to happen. The embryo may fail to implant because of the hardened or thickened zona pellucida — a protective protein capsule which an embryo is surrounded by.
At the moment of being released from the ovary, an egg is surrounded by a protein capsule that remains even after the insemination process and formation of a gestational sac. Moreover, it hardens and thickens to protect a new life originating inside of it. Before the implantation process when gestational sac has reached the uterine cavity the zona pellucida grows thinner as it becomes obsolete. An embryo cracks the shell just like a chicken does. This is how natural (or physiological) hatching happens.
However, if the membrane is thickened or hardened, an embryo may fail to break free of it and implant to the mucous membrane of the uterus. Implantation failure means no pregnancy.
Assisted hatching was specially developed to tackle this issue. It is a little upgrade of the natural implantation process performed via micro intervention right before the transfer of an embryo. A specialist using close control equipment slightly incises zona pellucida, thus, making the implantation process possible.
When hatching can be included in the IVF program?
A reproductologist recommends undergoing the procedure of assisted hatching when they can predict the embryo membrane to be thickened or hardened.
- the woman’s age over 38;
- implementation of cryo protocol (freezing/thawing cycle can cause a thickening of the embryonic membrane);
- the elevated level of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) in the patient’s blood;
- failed IVF attempts in the past;
- a thickened embryonic membrane as so considered by an embryologist.
Laser-assisted hatching in Life Line reproductive care center
Currently, three methods of assisted hatching are adopted in reproductive medicine.
1. Chemical hatching. An opening in zona pellucida is produced by using a special acid solution.
2. Mechanical hatching. The embryotic membrane is incised with a micro-needle and micromanipulators.
3. Laser hatching. An embryo membrane is incised with a laser beam.
Laser hatching has proved to be the most effective and the safest technique of all. It is the only method of the hatching that is performed in the laboratory of Life Line care center.
When the micro-intervention is implemented and how it is done?
After the process of oocyte insemination, embryos are cultivated in an incubator until they become blastocysts. On the day 5-6, a reproductologist transfers one or two best embryos into the organism of the mother-to-be. If a couple is recommended to undergo hatching, it is conducted before the transfer procedure. In cryo protocols, it is performed after the process of thawing of the cryopreserved embryos.
To help an embryo to break free from the embryonic membrane, our Life Line specialists employ cutting-edge laser technology.
The micro-handler equipment emits a thin laser beam. Laser beam operating allows the embryologist to carefully incise the zona pellucida. To facilitate the process of an embryo breaking through its membrane, it is enough to perform a slight incise. The picture of what is happening in the testing tube is displayed on the screen.
May an embryo be harmed during the assisted hatching procedure? Laser micro-intervention is completely safe for the future child. The laser affects the zona pellucida which has already served its purpose and became unnecessary. In the Life Line care center, this procedure is conducted by an experienced and well-equipped embryologist that would perfectly define the area for further intervention without hurting the embryo.
Our embryologists have been performing the laser hatching procedure for several years now. The practice has shown that it significantly increases the chances of pregnancy in certain categories of patients.
Is your couple recommended to undergo assisted hatching? In most cases, the answer can be given before the program starts and by a reproductologists that has studied medical testing results and anamnesis.
To schedule a counseling session with a reproductologist call us or submit our online application form.