Assisted Hatching Treatment

Assisted hatching (AH) is a technique used in IVF procedures to help the embryo hatch out of its protective covering and implant directly into the womb or uterus.

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In the initial stages of development, the embryo is surrounded by a layer of proteins called zona pellicuda, so that it can be protected until it reaches the required stage of development. In order to successfully implant into the womb, the fertilized embryo needs to hatch out of the protective covering and attach itself to the walls of the womb. Hatching is a necessary for all successful pregnancies and births. However, in some cases, if the covering layer is too thick or if the embryo does not have enough pressure from the cells to break through, it may have difficulty in hatching out of the protective covering. In assisted hatching, a hole is drilled into this outer covering of the embryo to allow hatching and implantation.

 

Assisted hatching may not necessarily guarantee a successful pregnancy, but is particularly more successful in patients with certain characteristics. This procedure is mainly used in women who have failed IVF repeatedly. Assisted hatching may also be recommended if the woman is 38 years or older, or has a high follicle stimulating hormone level, or endometriosis, in cases where the infertility is unexplained, or where embryos are fertilized using intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), or frozen-thawed embryos are being used.

 

Assisted hatching is of the following three types:

Mechanical hatching: In this procedure, the cover of the embryo is opened mechanically using a thin long drawn out glass needle. The machine used is called micromanipulator.

Chemical hatching: In this technique, a hole is created in the zona pellucida of the embryo by using acidic tyrode‚Äôs solution. The acidic solution is applied gently over a small area of the zona pellucida till an opening is created.

Laser assisted hatching: In this system, a 1.48-micron infrared diode laser is used to create a gap in the zona pellucida of the embryo.    

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