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What is Assisted Laser Hatching?

The laser assisted hatching is an additional lab technique designed to improve the efficiency of assisted reproductive technology procedures such as IVF & ICSI. The unfertilised egg is surrounded by a shell called zona pellucida. The zona has an important role in fertilisation as it allows only one sperm to penetrate the zona and enter the egg to achieve fertilisation.

After fertilisation of the egg, during the cleavage stage of an embryo, zona pellucida hardens. This development is normal and the purpose is to keep the cells in the egg together. The embryos have to “hatch” or break out of the zona in order to embed into the endometrial lining of the uterine cavity. This occurs about 2-3 days after embryo transfer when the embryo is at the blastocyst stage. Naturally this takes place by expanding/contracting of the zona until it breaks, allowing the blastocyst to “hatch”.

When sperm and eggs are cultured in IVF laboratory, the zona pellucida hardens at much faster rate than natural, making it more difficult for the embryo to implant. Prior to implantation, the embryo has to escape out of its zona pellucida by a process known as hatching. If this process is not completed properly, implantation failure occurs and a pregnancy cannot be achieved.

Assisted hatching is the process of creating a hole in zona pellucida, to aid the embryo in the hatching process

At Yash IVF, we offer the Laser technology for Assisted Hatching (LAH), where a precision laser beam is focused over the zona pellucida making a small opening, between 10-20 microns to facilitate embryo hatching. LAH is done just before the Embryo Transfer. This helps to increase pregnancy rates by improving implantation rates, since embryo hatching is facilitated. A fast, safe, simple method compared to the old method of hatching which was performed by using acidic medium

Laser Hatching is offered to those:

  • With day 3 embryos having a thick Zona
  • With previously failed IVF/ICSI cycles
  • For women older than 37 years of age, having a tendency to produce eggs with a harder zona pellucida than younger women
  • With a high Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) level
  • If undergoing IVF/ICSI treatment for the first time, who are considered poor responders because they have required a high dosage of gonadotrophins for poor response of ovaries.
  • Who in an earlier IVF cycle had low fertilisation rate, resulting in three or fewer embryos for achieving fertilisation
  • Who request laser assisted hatching and are fully informed of its use and benefits