If you have any questions, you may call us at (314) 576-1400.
Assisted Hatching: Excerpt from “How to Get Pregnant With the New Technology, Updated and Revised”
Another attempt at improving the pregnancy rate while avoiding the surgical approach of GIFT or ZIFT has been the idea of “assisted hatching”. The concept of this procedure is that based on the fact that the embryo normally sits around in the uterus without any effort to implant until around day six. Until day six, the embryo keeps growing within its very tough zona pellucida (outer shell). But on day six, that zona pellucida begins to thin out, and the embryo then eventually “hatches,” just like a chicken out of an egg. It is at this moment of hatching that the embryo, now called a “blastocyst,” actually implants into the uterine lining, the endometrium. It is at this moment, around day seven after fertilization, that pregnancy actually occurs, and this free floating ball of cells finally becomes a part of the mother. One theory to explain the perplexing phenomenon that most IVF embryos do not result in a pregnancy has been that this thinning of the zona and hatching of the embryo may be defective and some way impeded in embryos that have been cultured in vitro.
The solution to this problem would be to microsurgically thin out the wall of the zona pellucida of these embryos on day two, just prior to transfer. It was hoped that this micromanipulative process to the embryos might provide a necessary extra bit of help that would obviate the need for surgical procedures such as GIFT or ZIFT to improve the implantation rate. This proposition is very difficult to prove with certainty, but in many centers, including ours, assisted hatching is performed on most embryos, and the results have thereby improved. It is a beautiful procedure and a wonderful rationale and in women who have failed to get pregnant through the transfer of perfectly good embryos, the standard approach at the present should be to give them the benefit of the doubt, and to do assisted hatching.
A healthy blastocyst hatching.
If you have any questions, you may call us at (314) 576-1400