Assisted hatching is a laboratory technique which helps IVF or ICSI-created embryos to hatch, by creating a small hole in the zona pellucida – mechanically, chemically or by using a laser – to allow the embryo to ‘hatch out’ through the treated area. Midland Fertility uses a directional fibre-optic laser system to create a hole in the zona safely and swiftly. The procedure is carried out just before the embryos are transferred to the woman’s uterus.
Is assisted hatching suitable for every patient having IVF or ICSI?
Assisted hatching has been used in clinics worldwide for several years and many babies have been born after its application. However, no conclusive laboratory-controlled test results are currently available to support generalised assisted hatching for all patients and so NICE does not recommend it as a standard procedure. But limited evidence suggests that it may improve the chance of pregnancy for the following:
- women with three or more failed embryo transfers
- women over the age of 38
- women with a high baseline FSH level
- women whose embryos have an unusually thick zona pellucida
Midland Fertility carefully assesses the possible benefits of assisted hatching for each patient before considering the process as part of any treatment plan. The possible use of the procedure is discussed with the patient in advance of the embryo transfers and consent must be given for an embryologist to use assisted hatching.
Are there any risks of assisted hatching?
Only the embryos that are to be transferred undergo assisted hatching. There is a very small risk that a cell within an embryo might be damaged by the procedure, but this risk is lessened when using the laser assisted hatching method. The technique also safeguards the embryo from being adversely heated by the laser. The rate of damage to the embryo should be very much less than 1%. Several follow-up studies on children born following assisted hatching have been carried out worldwide and show no increase in the risk of abnormalities. Any long term risks are unknown.
Cost of assisted hatching at Midland Fertility: £350.00
Go to the Midland Fertility Patient Treatment Information page and download the following infosheets:
- Assisted Hatching
- Embryo Transfer Policy and eSET
- Embryo Time-Lapse Imaging
- IVF: In Vitro Fertilisation
- ICSI: Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Retrieval