Assisted Hatching is the process of helping the embryo break its hardened shell with a laser, so it can implant easier in the uterus.
Before an embryo can attach to the wall of the womb, it has to break out or ‘hatch’ from its outer layer called the zona pellucida. Once the embryo has hatched, it can make physical contact with the lining of the womb (the endometrium) and implantation can begin. If the embryo is unable to hatch from its zona pellucida, it won’t be able to implant successfully in the wall of the uterus.
It has been suggested that making a hole in or thinning this outer layer may help embryos to hatch, increasing the chances of the woman becoming pregnant in some cases.
Assisted hatching carried out immediately before embryo transfer. It weakens an area of the zona pellucida with the aim of improving the chances of implantation. At TFP we use a laser, as it is considered to be the safest and most accurate method. There is a small risk of damage to the embryo in the process.
We recommend Assisted Hatching in the following cases:
to patients with multiple unsuccessful IVF or ICSI attempts, in spite of them having "good embryos"
to patients over 38 years of age
if embryos have a thickened zona pellucida, or if embryos that developed from cryopreserved fertilised egg cells are transferred.
Our experienced doctors will discuss with you whether the treatment is suitable for your individual case. Furthermore, our team will inform you about the individual costs. These can vary depending on the number of treatment cycles and your insurance.
The results of studies are not yet conclusive. See the HFEA website for up to date information.
The HFEA advise there is no evidence to suggest that assisted hatching increases pregnancy rates during IVF treatment. For more information please see the HFEA advice and contact us if you would like to discuss this further.