Assisted Hatching

Learn how assisted hatching can help improve pregnancy rates

Our Dallas IVF center offers assisted hatching of embryos to help improve pregnancy rates for hopeful parents. Each embryo has a shell around it called the zona pellucida. Sometimes, IVF embryos can benefit from a little extra help to break out of this shell. Our team is here to explain how this process works in our laboratory.

Understanding the zona pellucida and embryo development

The zona pellucida surrounds the developing embryo until approximately the sixth day of development. At that time, the embryo hatches and escapes the confines of this non-cellular layer. Hatching is critical because it allows an embryo to implant in the uterine lining. If an embryo does not implant, a woman cannot become pregnant.

However, embryos sometimes have trouble with the hatching process. It often occurs when the zona pellucida is too thick or non-elastic. Thankfully, our Dallas IVF center offers assisted hatching to avoid this potential problem and help improve pregnancy rates.

How assisted hatching works in the IVF lab

At our Dallas IVF center, cleavage-stage embryos undergo assisted hatching in the laboratory. During the hatching procedure, embryologists use a non-contact laser to create a small opening in the zona pellucida. This precise laser makes contact with the zona pellucida, but not with the embryo’s cells.

This small hole helps each embryo break out of the zona pellucida more efficiently, typically on Day 6 or Day 7. This procedure increases the likelihood that the embryo will implant in the uterine lining and develop into a healthy pregnancy.

Who is a candidate for this IVF laboratory procedure?

Assisted hatching is not necessary for all patients. However, our Dallas IVF center may recommend it for hopeful parents who meet certain criteria.

  • Patients who have had previous IVF failures. If hopeful parents underwent IVF and had otherwise healthy embryos that failed to implant, assisted hatching may improve the odds of success with the next cycle.
  • Women over the age of 35. Time is of the essence when it comes to pregnancy. Because female fertility declines with age, adding this laboratory procedure to an IVF cycle may improve success rates and allow women to conceive faster.
  • Patients with elevated FSH levels. Women with higher levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) may produce thicker zona pellucida shells. Helping the hatching process along may bypass this problem.

If you are curious to learn more about this laboratory procedure and IVF, contact us to schedule an appointment. Our Dallas IVF center offers state-of-the-art fertility treatments to help you bring home a healthy baby.