Assisted hatching is a new lab technique that is used to increase the chances of implantation of the foetus in the women’s uterus. This procedure is based on the observation that embryos with a thin outer membrane had a higher success rate of implantation therefore embryologists decided to manipulate normal embryos so that they could also have this advantage. This procedure is now used alongside IVF/ICSI procedures. With assisted hatching, an embryologist uses a technique called micromanipulation which is conducted under a microscope and a small hole is created in the outer membrane of the embryo. This procedure usually occurs on the fourth day of embryo’s development.
The embryos are held in a steady position using a pipette, and on the opposite side a smaller pipette containing a specialized acidified solution is used to create a small hole in the outer membrane of the embryo. The embryos are then rinsed to remove any excess acid solution and returned to the incubator for a few hours before transfer into the uterus.
Who Should Use Assisted Hatching with IVF?
Assisted hatching is useful for couples with a poor prognosis for successful implantation naturally. These couples may have embryos that lack sufficient energy to implant and hatch on their own.
It may also be indicated for women who:
- Are older than 38 years old
- Have experienced two or more failed IVF/ICSI cycles
- Have poor embryo quality
Will Assisted Hatching Increase the Chances of IVF Success?
Assisted hatching has been found to help with IVF success in patients with a poor prognosis for pregnancy success.
Researchers have found that with assisted hatching, there was an increase in implantation in all women studied, particularly in those over the age of 38 or those who were close to reaching menopause. Research has also found that couples with multiple failed IVF cycles also benefited from assisted hatching.
As assisted hatching is a complex technique, the success of the procedure is dependent on the experience and technique used by the embryologist. At Bedaya Hospital we have a team of embryologists that have been performing the procedure with great results for over 20 years.
Is Assisted Hatching with IVF/ICSI Safe?
As with all procedures, especially new procedures, there can be complications from assisted hatching. Assisted hatching may be associated with damage to the embryo leading to a reduction in the viability of the embryo. In addition, it has been associated with causing an increased likelihood of having identical twins.