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
Whilst this technique is not evidence based, the clinic will only offer it when your consultant deems it appropriate for the treatment.