The early embryo consists of a ball of cells surrounded by a protective outer shell called the zona pellucida. In order to implant into the lining of the uterus the embryo needs to break out of this shell by a process called ‘hatching’.
It has been suggested that in some cases failure to reach pregnancy may be caused by the embryo being unable to break out of the zona pellucida to complete this process.
The technique of Assisted Hatching aims to facilitate the hatching process by creating a small hole in the zona pellucida on day 3 by which, a few days later, the subsequent blastocyst will be able to hatch out of the shell.
Who is Assisted Hatching recommended for?
- Patients whose embryos show thickening of the zona pellucida
- Patients of advanced maternal age
- Patients with elevated FSH
- Patients with history of repeated IVF failure
- Patients having treatment using frozen eggs/embryos
There is emerging evidence that for a minority of patients – particularly those with poor prognosis – Assisted Hatching improves the clinical pregnancy rate.
The following paper in Nature provides the latest evidence for Assisted Hatching www.nature.com/articles/srep31228
Speak to your consultant if you would like to discuss whether Assisted Hatching could help in your case.