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Dr Gautam Allahbadia | Role of Assisted Hatching in improving IVF success
Assisted Hatching technique was developed in the 1990s by a team headed by Dr. Jacques Cohen at Cornell University in New York. Most of the studies on Assisted Hatching have demonstrated an improvement in implantation rates in certain patients undergoing IVF or ICSI.
Dr Gautam Allahbadia mumbai mentions that assisted hatching is a laboratory technique designed to enhance implantation of embryos generated through In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). Most people are familiar with the failure of a cycle which is an unfortunate reality of assisted reproduction. Even when presumably high quality, fertile eggs are used, such as in egg donation with surrogates, nearly 40% to half of couples are still left disappointed each cycle.
Assisted hatching is a laboratory procedure whereby the zona of the early embryo is mechanically or chemically weakened in a way that assists the embryo to “hatch” from the zona more easily allowing implantation into the lining of the uterus. It has been suggested that making a hole in or thinning this outer layer may help embryos to ‘hatch’, increasing the chances of the woman becoming pregnant in some cases.
According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, assisted hatching may be indicated for women with advanced maternal age (older than 38), two or more failed IVF cycles and poor embryo quality. Apart from this egg quantity and quality factor and Zona factor – cases with embryos that have a thick outer shell also gives indication for the use of Assisted Hatching Technique as per Dr Gautam Allahbadia .
Assisted hatching is done while the embryo is in the laboratory. Before being transferred back to the womb a hole is made in the outer layer of the embryo or it is thinned, using acid, laser or mechanical methods. As per Dr Gautam Allahbadia, Assisted Hatching using laser technology is probably the best technique. Laser assisted hatching is a gentle and safe way to weaken a part of zona pellucida. Several studies have shown that using a laser is superior to chemical and manual hatching. Minimal handling of the embryo and delivering fast and exact control over the drilling of the hole are the advantages of laser assisted hatching.