Assisted Hatching

Following your embryo transfer, your embryos must continue to develop in the uterus for a pregnancy to occur. After approximately 5 or 6 days, as the embryo develops into a blastocyst, it must hatch out of its outer shell (known as the zona pellucida) so that the cells of the embryo can make direct contact with the cells lining the uterus. This is known as implantation. A blastocyst is a small ball of cells that expands to fill the zona and the pressure created should be sufficient to cause the zona to break and allow the blastocyst to hatch naturally.

Blastocyst Stage

Some studies have suggested that a possible reason for the failure of implantation following IVF treatment may be the inability of the embryo to undergo this hatching process. This may be due to the zona pellucida (the outer wall of the embryo) being thicker or harder than normal. Assisted hatching is designed to help the hatching process. We drill a tiny hole into the zona of the embryo using a laser beam to make a precision opening of the required size. The procedure does not have any adverse effect on the embryos themselves.