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Assisted Hatching

Assisted hatching is a laboratory procedure that can improve IVF success rates

In some cases, our San Antonio fertility doctor, Erika Munch MD, may recommend assisted hatching to patients. This advanced laboratory procedure can help improve the implantation rates of IVF embryos.

While this procedure is an excellent option for some patients, it is not necessary for everyone. Whether Dr. Munch recommends this procedure depends on certain factors, including the age of the patient and past IVF success rates.

Why is assisted hatching important?

Each embryo has a shell around it called the zona pellucida. This layer surrounds the egg and developing embryo until about Day 6 of development. The embryo then hatches and escapes this shell.

Hatching is very important because an embryo cannot implant in the uterine lining if this does not occur. However, sometimes embryos have trouble with the hatching process. This could be because the zona pellucida is too thick or non-elastic.

To avoid this problem, our San Antonio fertility doctor and her team may recommend assisted hatching in the IVF laboratory.

How does assisted hatching work in the IVF laboratory?

Our IVF laboratory team performs assisted hatching with a precise, non-contact laser. The embryologist uses this laser to create a small hole in the zona pellucida. Because this laser is very precise, it only contacts this outer layer of the embryo. This keeps the cells of the embryo safe.

The hole from the laser creates a starting point for the embryo to break out of its shell. The idea is that this will increase the likelihood that the embryo will implant in the uterine lining and develop into a successful pregnancy.

Assisted hatching occurs during an in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle. Specifically, an embryologist performs it between the steps of fertilization in the laboratory and embryo transfer.

Who could benefit from this laboratory technique?

Although assisted hatching is not necessary for every patient, our San Antonio fertility doctor may suggest it for certain groups.

  • Patients who have experienced two or more failed IVF cycles
  • Women who are over the age of 38
  • Patients who have poor embryo quality

Contact us if you would like to schedule an appointment and learn more about infertility treatments. Dr. Munch is happy to explain your options for bringing home a healthy baby.