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The IVF Fertility Blog

How Assisted Hatching Increases IVF Pregnancy Success Rates

16 Cell Egg-2.jpgThe cutting-edge technique of Assisted Hatching is used during the IVF culturing process to enhance an embryo’s chances of implantation. Why is this IVF ancillary procedure amazing? Assisted Hatching helps couples having a poor prognosis finally achieve a pregnancy through IVF. Typically, these couples develop embryos lacking the capacity to erupt naturally from their shells and attach to the woman’s endometrial lining.

  • Assisted Hatching is an ancillary procedure used in conjunction with IVF process
  • Assisted Hatching has improved IVF pregnancy success rates in patients having a poor prognosis

Bottom Line: A better chance for a successful IVF pregnancy even for those couples diagnosed as poor responders or difficult cases.

Assisted Hatching Explained

After an egg is fertilized in vitro, its cells begin to divide and develop into an embryo. The resulting embryo develops in a layer of protective proteins (the zona pellicuda) and it must hatch out of these protein layers to successfully implant into the uterine lining. In some cases, embryos have difficulty shedding the zona pellicuda and this hinders implantation in the uterine lining.

Shedding its shell is the only way an embryo can attach to the uterine lining and begin a successful pregnancy. Assisted Hatching helps embryos shed their shells – the zona pellucida.

The zona pellucida encases an embryo after conception until it attaches to the uterine wall, when pregnancy begins. If the embryo is unable to implant, it will fail to grow and eventually die.

Embryos freed of the zona pellucida have a higher rate of implantation during IVF.

How Assisted Hatching is Performed

To assist in an embryo’s hatching from its shell, an embryologist will use a computer-assisted laser to make a tiny opening in the zona pellucida. Through this small weakened area in the membrane the mass of cells inside the embryo can easily escape. With Assisted Hatching technology and expertise, a small hole is created in the zona pellucida on approximately the fourth day of embryo development. At the time of the performance of Assisted Hatching, embryos contain six to eight cells (IVF Blastocyst Transfer Stage).

Assisted Hatching Candidates

Candidates for Assisted Hatching include:

  • Women over the age of 30
  • Women who have experience two failed IVF cycles
  • Women who have produced poor quality embryos
  • Women having high FSH levels
  • Women having a distinct thickening of the zona pellucida

Assisted Hatching is recommended by Dr. John Zhang when the zona pellucida is thickened – especially in older women following:

Embryos are cultured for two to five days before transfer after only selecting the best quality embryos for transfer to the woman’s uterus.

In Vitro Maturation (IVM)

IVM or IVF/M – egg maturation in vitro – is a revolutionary method of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) helping to increase a woman’s chances of using at least some of her immature eggs for fertilization. The best part? IVM is an innovative ART technique that surgically retrieves a woman’s eggs while they are still in an immature stage. Look: A woman’s eggs can be matured in a controlled laboratory setting – in vitro – through IVF/M.

IVF/M Overview

After the woman’s immature eggs are surgically retrieved, they are placed in a petri dish containing a maturation medium for 24 to 48 hours in our state-of-the-art IVF lab. That’s not all. The retrieved eggs are carefully monitored as they fully mature outside of the woman’s body. Then, each individual egg is injected with a single sperm in a fertilization technique known as Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI). The resulting embryos are cultured for several more days until they have developed into a viable stage for transfer. Why does this matter? Only the highest quality embryos are selected for fresh IVF transfer or cryopreservation.

First Class IVF Treatment

It is important to work with a first class fertility care team having the experience required to design a customized IVF treatment plan meeting your personal needs. To schedule your initial consultation with one of the world renowned fertility specialists at New Hope Fertility Center, click the icon below – or – call 917.525.5496.

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