Hatching is the process which enables the egg to attach itself to the inner layer of the uterus. Without this, the egg cannot attach to the uterus. In this process, the embryo emerges from the protein layer protecting it.
Let’s first have a look at the natural process of hatching. The egg has a protein layer covering it. Its function differs from stage to stage in the egg development journey. This layer divides with the sperm cells leading to the beginning of fertilization. Once the sperm enters the layer and fertilizes the egg, the layer hardens itself. The hardening prevents other sperm to enter and attaching of egg to the fallopian tube wall. As the egg travels down towards the uterus, the layer starts to thicken and on the fourth day of egg development it opens and the embryo emerges. This embryo attaches to the inner wall of the uterus for happening of pregnancy.
Assisted hatching is a technique of assisted reproduction applied in IVF to over any barrier in the process of hatching. In this process, an opening is created in the outer protein layer after fertilization in a lab and before placing it back into the uterus.
There are several methods used in assisted hatching like mechanical and chemical hatching, drilling, and laser-assisted hatching. The LSH method is the safest and most productive. In this, an opening is created in the protein layer with the help of a special laser. This activity is more controllable than any other method.
Who qualifies for Laser Assisted Hatching?
This technique is for the following category of people –
- The woman whose age is 38 years or older
- The woman who has a high quantity of FSH in their body
- The woman who has low quality fertilized egg
- The woman who produces a hard or thick protein layer covering the egg
- The woman who have previous failed attempts at IVF
- The woman who has infertility the reason for which cannot be known
Why is it conducted?
It is conducted to overcome the problem in the hatching phase and increase the chances of pregnancy.
What are the benefits associated with Laser Assisted Hatching
The main benefit of this treatment is to increase the probability of pregnancy and ultimately the birth of a child or offspring for people who are unable to conceive through a normal process. This is also beneficial for the below category people –
- Couples who had earlier failed IVF attempts
- The woman who has an egg of low quality
- The woman is in the later stage of reproductive age (Past 38 Years) and has very few chances to get pregnant.
Risk and Complications associated with Laser Assisted Hatching
Below are some risks and complications pointed out concerning this assisted method of reproduction –
- Birth of more than one child
- Occurrences of damage to the egg at the time of performance of a process or after transfer it into the uterus, which render it useless.
- Such interference with the egg may lead to cease of the natural functioning of the hatching as intended, thus resulting in a failed attempt.
- There is a high probability of the occurrence of birth defects.
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This assisted hatching technique has opened the door to the possibility of having a child for couples, individuals who are in an advanced stage of their age and have earlier failed ART attempts. It is an improved version of IVF and increases the chances of a successful pregnancy.
No, this method is not widely used instead chemical hatching is used.
No, success is not guaranteed but the probability of it has increased.
It is performed on the third day of the IVF process in the lab.
It is controllable, more accurate and has fewer chances of damaging the egg.
It occurs on the fourth day of embryo development.