At Pacific Fertility Center, our doctors offer the assisted hatching lab technique to in vitro fertilization (IVF) patients in Los Angeles, CA. This relatively new technique involves thinning or puncturing the outer shell of an embryo so that it can attach to the uterine wall more easily. This technique is commonly recommended for patients who have been previously unsuccessful with IVF treatments.
On the fourth day of development after the egg has been fertilized in the lab, the embryo is encompassed in a shell of proteins known as the zona pellucida. To properly implant itself to the uterine lining, an embryo has to break through this shell. Some embryos may be incapable of breaking through the shell if it is too thick.
Assisted hatching is a technique that involves thinning or puncturing the outer shell of an embryo so that the embryo can more easily attach itself to the uterine wall.
To perform the procedure, the embryo will be held tightly under a microscope and a mild acid solution will be applied to create a tiny hole in the shell. The embryo is washed and then placed back in an incubator before it is moved to the uterus for implantation. By creating this small opening, the embryo can more easily break through the zona pellucida shell and implant along the uterine wall.
Assisted hatching is most commonly recommended for patients over the age of 37. It may also be recommended for patients who have had two or more unsuccessful IVF treatment cycles. Patients who have produced viable embryos that have failed to implant on the uterine wall may benefit from incorporating this technique into their IVF treatment. Assisted hatching is also commonly recommended for patients who have elevated levels of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), as this hormone is thought to produce thicker zona pellucida shells.
Patients who choose to incorporate the assisted hatching technique into their IVF treatment cycle tend to see higher success rates than those who do not. Because of the increased ability to implant along the uterine wall, this technique also requires fewer embryos per cycle. This allows for surplus embryos to be frozen and saved for use at a later time. Published studies have shown that assisted hatching techniques are associated with higher implantation and pregnancy rates when frozen embryos were used.
If you have been unsuccessful with previous IVF treatment cycles, assisted hatching may help to improve your chances. Our doctors can help you determine if this technique may be right for you during a consultation. At Pacific Fertility Center, our mission is to help you achieve your dreams of having a baby, and assisted hatching can help make that possible. Contact us today to schedule your consultation and find out if assisted hatching is right for you.
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