What is assisted hatching?
Assisted hatching is a laboratory micro-manipulation technique that can be carried out before the embryos are transferred to the uterus after an IVF or ICSI cycle. Assisted hatching helps the embryo to hatch from the zona pellucida.
During its first days of development an embryo is surrounded and protected by an outer shell called the zona pellucida. In normal circumstances, when the embryo reaches the uterus, this zona partially dissolves and the embryo hatches out, allowing it to implant into the uterus.
Assisted hatching is carried out in the laboratory by our experienced embryologists here at Cyprus HOPE IVF using a very high-powered microscope, a small incision is made in the zona using a very fine needle. Assisted hatching is carried out before the embryo transfer on those embryos that have been chosen for transfer. Once it is returned to the uterus, the embryo can hatch through this opening and implant naturally.
In some patients it is thought that infertility may be caused by a hardening of the zona, which makes it difficult for the embryo to hatch and implant.
Who is assisted hatching suitable for?
Assisted hatching is generally recommended in the following circumstances:
- Women aged 35 or older
- Women with high FSH levels
- Couples who have failed to get pregnant following previous IVF cycles
- Couples where a distinct thickening of the zona is noted by the embryologist
- Frozen embryo replacements
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