Assisted Hatching

Microscope image of laser assisted hatching on grey background

Assisted Hatching (AH) is a procedure preceding embryo transfer, and is done to enhance implantation of the embryos to the uterine wall. An opening is made using a laser-equipped microscope in the eggshell (“zona pellucida”), surrounding the embryo, which may help the embryo break out of its eggshell (“hatch”) and attach itself to the uterine wall.

The physician may or may not recommend upfront AH during the IVF cycle: this technique is used in patients over the age of 35, or those with prior unsuccessful IVF cycles. Additionally, even in cases when AH wasn’t planned, it may be recommended by the embryologist depending on the clinical situation (such as embryos with abnormally thick eggshells), and this cannot wait as the embryos may pass the ideal time for the procedure to be performed.