Assisted Hatching


  • Assisted hatching is an additional microscopic laboratory procedure designed to increase the chances of pregnancy ,performed in patients who are undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment to facilitate embryo hatching and implantation process.
  • Once embryos are created using IVF, the embryo is surrounded by a hard outer layer of cells called the zona pellucida. You can think of this outer layer as the “shell” of the embryo.
  • To result in a successful pregnancy, embryo must break free of this “shell”(zona pellucida) in order to implant into the uterus . Assisted hatching is a procedure where we can help the embryo “hatch” from its “shell” by creating a small crack in the zona pellucida. It is believed that assisted hatching can help an embryo implant in the uterus, leading to higher pregnancy rates in some patients.


  • During assisted hatching, the outer shell of the embryo is artificially weakened by making a small hole in the zona pellucida. This can be done in several different ways like mechanical expansion of shell, chemical hatching, drilling, laser assisted hatching
  • Laser assisted hatching is a more modern approach which is the safest and most effective. It utilizes specialized software that aids in the positioning, intensity, and focus of the lasers.


  • Assisted hatching is not recommended for all patients, but may be helpful in women who are older (more than 37 years old) or who have had at least two IVF failures.
  • Patients who have poor quality embryo, patients whose embryos have a zona pellucida that is unusually thick, patients whose embryos are not developing as well as expected, patients with elevated FSH levels during the follicular phase.
  • Assisted hatching can also be done on previously frozen and thawed embryos as freezing can make it harder for embryos to hatch.
  • If the preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) is planned, assisted hatching of embryos on the third day after fertilization can make a biopsy for PGD easier.


  • There is a slightly increased risk for identical twins in embryos that have undergone assisted hatching. Very rarely, an embryo can be damaged from the assisted hatching process.

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