Assisted hatching, known as AH, is a procedure that is performed on a cellular embryo prior to its transfer or prior to pre-implantation genetic testing. AH usually is not performed on blastocyst embryos. The procedure of assisted hatching is sometimes needed when the outer layer of tissue surrounding the embryo does not open up the way it is supposed to, causing problems with implantation.
When Is Assisted Hatching Needed
At day six to seven of development, the process of implantation typically occurs. This process is when the embryo attaches to the uterine wall. Before the attachment and implantation can occur, the embryo must hatch from the zona pellucida, an opening of the egg wall. The natural hatching process occurs when there is a rupture in the zona pellucida.
Some women require assistance with the hatching process. There are a variety of conditions that reduce the embryo’s ability to hatch and implant into the uterus. Some of these conditions include:
- Age factor – over the age of 38
- Thickened or abnormal zona pellucida
- Failed IVF cycles in the past
- Poor quality of embryos
- Elevated day-3 FSH
Assisted hatching is highly effective in women who are over the age of 38. The success rate is high in treating these women. As a woman ages, there is a gradual loss of viable eggs, but through assisted hatching techniques at a Denver fertility clinic, women are able to achieve fertility at a much higher rate than through a natural or conventional method.
Assisted Hatching Outcome
IVF success in patients with a poor prognosis of fertility can be helped with assisted hatching. Researchers have found that the outcome is favorable, particularly in patients who are over the age of 38 and for couples who have experienced multiple failed IVF cycles.
Hatching is a highly complicated technique and the success rate depends on the experience of the specialist, along with the factors affecting the woman’s fertility. It is important to discuss the details of the procedure with your fertility specialist.
Safety of Assisted Hatching
While there can be complications with any medical procedure, assisted hatching is deemed highly effective and safe when conducted by a professional. Experienced fertility specialists provide quality care that is both safe and highly effective.
Although rare, complications can arise. These complications may include damage to the embryo or damage to the blastomeres, leading to problems with viability of the embryo. Increased risk for identical twins may occur with assisted hatching. If you have a concern about the treatment, check with your infertility doctor in Colorado to discuss both the risks and benefits of the procedure.
Dr. Smith is the premier reproductive endocrinologist in Colorado, having recently been named the top fertility doctor in Colorado! She is offering complimentary 15 minute phone consults to those in need of fertility treatment, simply call (303) 999-3877 for more information and scheduling.