Laser Assisted Hatching
What is hatching?
A human embryo has a soft outer ‘shell’ called the zona pellucida (or zona for short). When an embryo is five or six days old and is at the stage known as a blastocyst, it needs to escape or hatch out of the zona. Once the embryo has hatched out of the zona, it is able to implant into the lining of the womb and a pregnancy results. If the embryo does not hatch a pregnancy cannot occur.
What is laser assisted hatching and how is it done?
Laser assisted hatching is a technique whereby a small artificial hole is made in the zona of an embryo using a laser. It is thought that the embryo can then hatch more easily through this hole and hopefully increase the chance of the embryo implanting.
Laser assisted hatching is performed just before the embryo transfer procedure and can be performed on embryos at the early cleavage stages (that is two or three days after the egg collection) and at the blastocyst stage (five or six days after the egg collection).
Is laser assisted hatching suitable for me?
Some patients may produce embryos in which the zona is thickened or hardened making it difficult or impossible for the embryo to implant. Also, patients who have had several embryo transfers without success or patients who are older may wish to consider laser assisted hatching
What difference will laser assisted hatching make?
It is difficult to say with certainty whether laser assisted hatching improves your chance of pregnancy as the available evidence about this remains controversial.
Are there any risks with laser assisted hatching?
There is no evidence that laser assisted hatching is harmful in any way to your embryos.
If you have any questions about how we choose your embryos please speak to a member of staff.