Assisted hatching is the process whereby the embryo is helped to hatch from the egg membrane. This is the prerequisite for pregnancy to occur. If hatching does not succeed, even a well developed embryo cannot implant in the lining of the uterus, meaning that pregnancy can’t occur. The embryo’s movement from the egg membrane can be disrupted by a thickening or microscopically undetectable hardening of the egg membrane. Such changes are found more frequently in patients over 35 years of age and in frozen (cryopreserved) egg cells. If multiple fertility treatments are repeatedly unsuccessful with healthy embryos, we deduct that there may be implantation difficulties as a result of a hatching disorder. In this case, we advise assisted hatching.
The following occurs during this process. On the day of embryo transfer, a small incision is made in the membrane of the fertilised egg with the help of a laser. This facilitates the embryo to “hatch” from the egg’s membrane. The process is quite comparable to a chick hatching from an egg. The embryo is not harmed during assisted hatching, and the chances of pregnancy occurring are significantly improved.
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