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Assisted Embryo Hatching

Normally when the embryo reaches the uterine cavity at blastocyst stage, it will break through the outer layer, hatch and then implant.

After the eggs are fertilized (embryo) and before they are transferred into the uterine cavity, a small portion of the outer layer of the embryo is sliced off. This procedure is known as assisted hatching of the embryo by zona thinning. In the early years of IVF they used to use an acid to do this. Later we used to use a sharp glass needle to thin the zona. But now we use a laser to thin the zona.

Some centres do zona drilling by using a laser. Whichever method is used we believe that this may help in the implantation of the embryo on to the endometrium. It is usually offered in cases where repeated IVF treatments have failed to achieve a pregnancy. Assisted hatching can also be done if you make a special request at the start of the treatment cycle. A small additional charge is made for this procedure. Assisted hatching cannot be done if the outer layer of the embryo is thin. If the outer layer of the embryo is thick or in cases of frozen thawed embryos are to be replaced then zona thinning may help. Please discuss this with your doctor.