Several factors can make someone a candidate for assisted hatching with in vitro fertilization. Patients who have experienced previous failed IVF cycles, 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 follicular phase, or patients older than 35 can all benefit from assisted hatching. Since there are no known downsides, and the potential for increased implantation rates exists, Aspire believes that all IVF patients can benefit from our advanced assisted hatching techniques.
There are three methods for IVF Assisted Hatching:
Assisted hatching is performed immediately before embryo transfer. Although the goal of each technique is to weaken or perforate the zona pellucida, the differences in methodology are significant.
Laser assisted hatching is a more modern approach. It utilizes specialized software that aids in positioning, intensity, and focus of the lasers. In this method, the thickness of the zona is measured, allowing our embryologists to minimize the heat delivered to the adjacent inner cell mass. Aspire uses the laser assisted hatching method because it is the safest for the embryos, and our embryologists can set up and perform laser assisted hatching with more speed and precision than other methods.
Acid Tyrode’s solution uses a tiny microneedle to expose a small amount of acid onto the zona through direct contact. A specialized holding pipette is used to restrict the movement of the embryo. As the acid melts away the zona, it is advanced into the embryo, creating a small hole. After the hole is created, the embryo is washed, placed back in culture medium, and reincubated until the time of embryo transfer. Acid Tyrode’s solution is traditionally the most common method of performing assisted hatching, but clinics are increasingly turning away from this method because of the potential to introduce partially dissolved zona and acid into the developing embryo.
Partial zona dissection (PZD) is a mechanical method that creates a cross-hatched slit in the zona. To create the penetrations, the embryo is held in place with a holding pipette and a microneedle is used to pierce the zona. Once pierced, the embryo is released from the holding pipette and repositioned so that the zona is between the microneedle and the holding pipette. Gentle pressure is applied, causing the microneedle to make a slit in the zona. The embryo is then repositioned and the procedure is performed again, creating a cross-hatched opening in the zona.
Here are the steps Aspire uses for the laser assisted egg hatching process:
Clinical studies have shown that assisted hatching increases the chance of implantation of transferred embryos. While there has not yet been enough research performed to concretely support laser assisted hatching over other methods, Aspire believes it to be the best option for our patients.
While assisted hatching is offered at many fertility clinics, it is often an additional cost. Aspire is committed to ensuring that the most advanced treatments available are never optional extras. Because assisted hatching has been shown to improve implantation, pregnancy, and birth rates, we offer it to patients at no additional cost.