Laser Assisted Hatching Can Help With the Natural Embryo Hatching Process
Most of the time, embryos will hatch on their own so that they can successfully implant in the uterus to establish a pregnancy. However, factors like age and conditions like endometriosis can interfere with embryo hatching and implantation.
If this is a concern for you, the Ovation® embryologists can perform a laboratory procedure called laser assisted hatching. Our embryologists may also use this procedure when performing an embryo biopsy as part of preimplantation genetic testing (PGT).
Assisted Hatching Is Designed to Mimic Natural Processes
To understand assisted hatching, it’s helpful to know how natural reproduction works. As an egg matures within an ovarian follicle, it develops a shell called the zona pellucida. This shell protects the egg and the embryo that a fertilized egg will eventually develop into.
When the fertilized egg reaches the uterus, it will grow from just a few cells to between 80 and 100 cells. This growth and expansion begins to stretch and thin the zona pellucida. By Day 6 or Day 7, the embryo should hatch out of its shell and implant into the uterine lining. If this doesn’t happen, the embryo will not implant and will stop growing.
When embryos grow in the IVF laboratory, our embryologists can see differences in the thickness of one embryo’s shell to the next. While this variation in thickness has nothing to do with the health of each embryo, it can affect an embryo’s ability to implant. Simply put, if the shell is too thick, the embryo cannot break through it. Thankfully, laser assisted hatching can help.
Trust an Experienced Embryologist to Perform Assisted Hatching
An embryologist performs assisted hatching using a non-contact, heat-directed laser that safely removes a small portion of the zona pellucida, or the outer shell of the embryo. This process may be performed on different days of embryo development.
Assisted hatching is a delicate process that involves placing an embryo on a microscope and then carefully using a laser to make a tiny hole in the zona pellucida. The embryologist will then quickly return the embryo to the incubator.
This procedure is very safe when a skilled embryologist performs it, and it promotes the natural hatching process, which can improve your likelihood of conceiving.
If you have more questions about conceiving with IVF, please contact an Ovation partner physician today.