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.
The results of studies are not yet conclusive. See the HFEA website for up to date information.