Embryo Hatching

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Assisted Embryo Hatching

During in vitro fertilization (IVF), a technique called assisted hatching may be performed to help an embryo implant in a woman’s womb.

The first step of pregnancy occurs when the sperm fertilizes an egg. In cases of natural conception, fertilization takes place in the fallopian tube when you have intercourse around the time of ovulation.

The fertilized egg, now called the embryo, then travels from the fallopian tube into your uterus for implantation. Implantation takes place about a week after fertilization.

The Assisted Hatching Procedure

Assisted hatching is used to assist the implantation process during IVF. The technique is performed three days post-fertilization after the embryo has had a few days to develop.

During assisted hatching, the zona pellucida, which coats the embryo, is thinned or ruptured. Sometimes, the outer layer of the zona pellucida is dissolved with an acidic mixture. Alternatively, a laser or fine needle may be used to break open the outer layer of the zona pellucida.

Assisted hatching is done with a micromanipulation technique requiring the use of microscopic tools, robotic assistance, and a microscope to view the minuscule embryo.

If you use IVF with assisted hatching, the embryo will be transferred into your uterus a day after hatching. To reduce the risk of complications, steroids and antibiotics may be administered, which can sometimes cause side effects.

Assisted Embryo Hatching

Who is Eligible for Assisted Embryo Hatching?

Hatching is a requirement for all successful pregnancies and births. However, some embryos do not hatch on their own.

If a woman’s embryos are unable to hatch themselves then assisted hatching is recommended to boost pregnancy success. Our fertility specialist observes the embryo’s shape and characteristics to determine the embryos to be selected for Assisted Hatching.

Women who are most likely to benefit from assisted hatching are those who:

  • Are over 38 years of age
  • Have had repeated implantation failures while using frozen replaced embryos
  • Have embryos that have abnormal appearing zone
  • Have embryos with thick Zona Pellucida

How do I know if assisted hatching is right for me?

Several factors contribute to our fertility specialist recommending assisted hatching. Some of these factors include:

  • Egg health and quantity – a high number of eggs is pivotal to fertilization and implantation. If you know your egg count is down, assisted hatching is the procedure recommended to make the remaining eggs count.
  • FSH – when the day 3 follicle-stimulating hormone level is elevated, conceiving may prove difficult.

Benefits of Assisted Embryo Hatching

This technique is associated with several benefits including:

  • fewer embryos are required for transfer
  • increased implantation success rates
  • allows blastocyst culture to occur

Risks Associated with Assisted Embryo Hatching?

Assisted hatching may help certain patients during IVF. But, like any invasive procedure, there are risks involved. Here’s the lowdown on assisted hatching and what fertility patients really need to know.

Assisted hatching can sometimes damage the embryo or its internal blastomeres, leading to poor IVF outcomes. This fertility treatment can increase the chance of a twin pregnancy, which carries a higher risk to mothers and babies.

Fetal complications could arise, including physical deformity or conjoined twins.

Patients having assisted hatching are often treated with low-dose steroids and antibiotics. These can have side effects.

However, for particular patient groups, assisted hatching may be beneficial. As always, talk to your doctor about your personal situation and why they think this is best for you.

Assisted Embryo Hatching

While assisted hatching is effective, it is not without risks. Your dedicated team at Footsteps To Fertility Centre in Kenya will decide if embryo hatching is appropriate for you depending on your diagnosis and various other factors during your IVF cycle.

At Footsteps To Fertility, we are fortunate to have an established technology that allows us to help the hatching process when necessary. Feel free to contact us or reserve an appointment below.

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