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Candidates for Assisted Hatching

By Vicken Sahakian, M.D. on April 11, 2018

Assisted hatchingInfertility is a problem that is far more common than most people imagine. While there are many potential causes of infertility, countless cases of infertility remain unexplained. 

In vitro fertilization, or IVF, is an assisted reproductive treatment that addresses a wide range of fertility problems, including those with unknown sources. Although IVF is one of the most successful types of fertility treatments, there are patients who fail to become pregnant even after undergoing IVF treatment. 

Assisted hatching can increase the success rate of IVF treatment for patients that have previously gone through unsuccessful IVF attempts or those with certain fertility risk factors. Assisted hatching involves the creation of a small opening in the outer shell of an embryo so that it can implant along the uterine wall more easily. 

Here, we go over some of the factors that may make a patient an ideal candidate for assisted hatching at our Los Angeles, CA fertility center. 

Patients with Previous IVF Failures

IVF treatment has higher success rates than most other forms of fertility treatment. Still, there are patients who undergo IVF treatment and fail to become pregnant. While it is not unusual for a single IVF session to be unsuccessful, it is less common for patients to experience multiple failed attempts of IVF treatment. Patients who have gone through two or more unsuccessful IVF cycles may benefit from assisted hatching. 

IVF oversees nearly every phase of conception, including ovulation, egg retrieval, and fertilization. After fertilization, healthy embryos are transferred directly into the patient’s uterus. The only process that IVF does not directly affect is implantation. 

If a patient has previously had viable embryos that simply did not implant, adding assisted hatching to IVF treatment may help. Assisted hatching makes it much easier for embryos to implant themselves against the wall of the uterus and, therefore, further increases the success rate of IVF treatment.

Patients Over the Age of 37

The “biological clock” is far more than a myth when it comes to infertility. Both males and females become more prone to infertility issues as they age. Women over the age of 37 are not only more likely to suffer from fertility problems, but also have lower success rates for fertility treatments, including IVF. 

Because we know that age has such an effect on fertility and the success of fertility treatment, we are likely to recommend assisted hatching to all IVF patients over the age of 37, even if it is their first attempt at IVF treatment.

Patients with Elevated FSH Levels

FSH is the follicle-stimulating hormone. Patients with elevated FSH levels are believed to produce thicker zona pellucida shells, which is the outer layer of proteins that surrounds an embryo. 

The thicker that the outer layer of the embryo is, the more difficult it will be for the embryo to break through the lining and implant along the uterine wall. In fact, if the lining is particularly thick, the embryo may be unable to implant at all. As a precaution to minimize the risk of IVF failure, our doctors may recommend assisted hatching to any patient with elevated FSH levels. 

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At Pacific Fertility Center, our doctors offer a wide range of fertility treatments to help patients overcome the most common sources of infertility. If you’d like to learn more about our services and which may be most beneficial to your unique situation, contact us at your earliest convenience.

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