What Is Laser Assisted Hatching (LAH)?

Often, an in vitro fertilisation (IVF) procedure can produce several embryos during the fertilisation process. Some couples opt to cryopreserve the embryos that are not transferred to the uterus during a given cycle, in the hope that they can use them later. This preservation process entails a sequence of freezing and thawing, the effects of which could adversely affect the natural process of blastocyst hatching. Laser assisted hatching (LAH) is a laboratory procedure that loosens a blastocyst within its outer shell, allowing it to implant successfully once it is deposited onto the uterine lining.

Why Choose Laser Assisted Hatching?

Laser assisted hatching (LAH) enables a blastocyst to thaw quickly, yet efficiently, without compromising on its integrity.

Is Laser Assisted Hatching Right for Me?

Laser assisted hatching (LAH) can augment implantation and bring you closer to pregnancy if you have previously had three or more unfavourable in vitro fertilisation (IVF) cycles. Alternatively, if your doctor finds that the outer walls of your embryos seem to be thicker than usual, a LAH routine may be recommended for you.

What Are the Steps of Laser Assisted Hatching?

Laser assisted hatching (LAH) is a short two-step process, following the retrieval of cryopreserved embryos.

  • 1Light Pulsing

    The hatching process is performed for each embryo individually. First, the embryo is framed by a circle of light indicating the circumference around which the laser will beam. Then, the laser starts pulsing a portion of the circumference, attempting to dissolve a part of the embryonic shell. The process is performed delicately, to ensure that the heat from the laser is not transferred to the cells of the embryo.

  • 2Implantation

    Your embryologist will identify up to two embryos to be placed inside the uterus. The embryo will then implant itself in the uterine lining in the following few days.

What Are the Risks of Laser Assisted Hatching?

There are two main risks associated with laser assisted hatching (LAH).

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Laser Asisted Hatching

The advent of the laser has allowed the development of precision techniques to manipulate embryos for enhanced fertility. Assisted hatching is used to help the embryo hatch from its protective outer shell, the zona pellucida, and promote implantation in the uterine wall after embryo transfer. Laser-assisted hatching (LAH) uses a highly focused infrared laser beam to remove the zona pellucida. Laser-assisted hatching requires less handling of the embryo than other assisted hatching methods. Also, laser-assisted hatching is faster than any other methods and therefore, the embryo spends less time outside the incubator.