January 30, 2019 By Dr Pankaj Kulkarni

Hatching Happiness: The Benefits of Laser Assisted Hatching

If you’ve experienced recurrent in vitro fertilisation (IVF) failure, laser assisted hatching (LAH) may be the godsend you never knew you needed.

If assisted hatching conjures darling visions of fledgelings born in a bird’s nest, you’ll be surprised what it’s really about. As an advanced assisted reproductive technology, LAH works as a complement to IVF treatment, aiding in embryo implantation.

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What Is Embryo Hatching?

embryo hatching (1)
Embryo hatching

Before understanding how laser assisted hatching works, allow us to give you a little backstory of the natural process of embryo hatching.

  • Before an egg becomes an embryo, it is encased in a protein covering called a zona pellucida
  • Once the egg merges with a sperm cell, the zona pellucida hardens into a shell, preventing other sperm from penetrating the newly formed zygote, and impending premature implantation of the embryo in the fallopian tube
  • The zona pellucida binds the cells of the blastocyst together, working as a trusty container
  • As the zygote morphs into a blastocyst over the span of several days, the zona pellucida crumbles away, eventually cracking open around day 4, to allow the blastocyst to hatch and implant inside the uterus
  • The hatching of the embryo from the zona pellucida is imperative to successful implantation

Phew! So, after that long (but somewhat necessary) explanation, let’s talk about how laser assisted hatching can mimic the natural hatching process and augment IVF outcomes.

What Is Laser Assisted Hatching?

Much like natural conception, a successful IVF procedure relies on a transferred blastocyst to hatch out of the zona pellucida before implanting inside the uterus. Sometimes, failed IVF cycles are outcomes of a problem in the hatching process. Some probable reasons for this are an abnormally hard zona pellucida, or environmental deterrents like unconducive cultures or cryopreservation chemicals. Laser-assisted hatching is a state-of-the-art technology that employs a special laser beam to breach the zona pellucida and help the embryo hatch with greater ease. The technique can be paired with fresh or frozen embryo cycles, although the latter is generally more common.  

Assisted Hatching
Assisted Hatching

What Are the Benefits of Laser Assisted Hatching?

Laser-assisted hatching is typically recommended for women older than 38, couples diagnosed with poor embryo quality, and couples who have experienced two or more failed IVF cycles.

Implantation Potential

In a frozen embryo transfer cycle, LAH has shown to produce better quality blastocysts than traditional thawing methods.  

Quality Cryopreserved Embryos

Cryopreservation is an avant-garde technique that can preserve your embryos for up to a decade. However, the success of the process pivots on how well the embryos are frozen and thawed. Without proper handling, it is possible that the shell containing the embryo can become damaged. Assisted hatching can micro-manipulate an embryo, allowing you to retrieve cryopreserved embryos in the best condition.

LAH can be a miracle maker if you’ve suffered the heartache of recurrent failed IVF cycles. If you’ve been seeking a lifeline, LAH may be just what you’re looking for. Take it today.

Read more about steps involved in IVF Process!