In simple words, laser-assisted hatching is a scientific IVF procedure that makes it easier for the embryo to hatch through its outer layer or shell (also known as the "zona pellucida") through an opening. This procedure is usually done using a laser-assisted device, allowing more control over the size of the crack in the shell.
Once this is done, the embryo is transferred back to the uterus, where it implants itself into the lining to ensure continuous growth. The laser-assisted hatching process takes place 3 days after fertilisation during the IVF cycle, has seen considerable success (improvements of up to 50%), and doesn’t take too much time.
Moreover, it doesn’t cause any harm to the embryo.
Why is laser-assisted hatching conducted?
As mentioned previously, the laser-assisted hatching process involves the hatching of an embryo from its shell through an opening in the zona pellucida. According to embryologists and fertility experts, the process can lead to higher pregnancy rates among some women.
Also, the procedure can help change the pattern of the embryo not being able to attach itself to the uterine wall.
To understand the process, benefits, and risks associated with laser-assisted hatching, we recommend you consult a doctor. Call 1860-500-4424 to book an appointment today at the Apollo Fertility Center, Anna Nagar.
Who Can Opt for the Laser-Assisted Hatching Procedure?
Women who have tried and failed to conceive through IVF and have thicker eggs are ideal for laser-assisted hatching. That said, it’s important to know more about who can benefit from the LAH process before including it in your IVF or ICSI treatment.
Given below is a detailed explanation of candidates considered suitable for laser-assisted hatching:
- Infertile patients who have failed to conceive through conventional procedures like IVF and ICSI
- Women who are over 37 years of age and have undergone unsuccessful IVF or ICSI procedures. Such individuals are more likely to produce eggs due to a dense zona pellucida
- Women with a high amount of follicle-stimulating hormones (FSH)
- Patients with poor ovarian response in addition to low AMH
- Patients with low fertilisation rates in their previous IVF procedures (e.g., having less than one-third of the embryos fertilized)
Benefits of laser-assisted hatching
Some benefits of laser-assisted hatching have been enumerated below:
- Reduced embryo handling: Since the procedure is carried out with the help of a laser to create a gap in the zona pellucida, there is minimal handling of the embryo. The laser completes the task without ever touching the embryo with a mechanical instrument.
- Safe on the embryo: Laser-assisted hatching is gentle and does not cause any harm or negative effects to the embryo, as there are no mechanical instruments involved in the procedure.
- Minimal risk of complication: Laser-assisted hatching has a lower risk of complications than other methods, which use an acidic solution or mechanical force.
- Increases the chances of blastocyst culture: A blastocyst culture is a three to four-day period in which the embryo is monitored before being transferred to the uterus. Thanks to laser-assisted hatching, the blastocyst culture process can now happen easily.
- Reduces chances of multiple pregnancies: The laser-assisted hatching process reduces the number of embryos transferred back to the uterus. This is because only 1 or 2 embryos are transferred after the procedure is complete.
Risk factors for laser-assisted hatching
Laser-assisted hatching is a micromanipulation technique that has both benefits and risks associated with it. Even though the success rate has been great, there are still some people who can't get pregnant after the surgery.
Some risks associated with LAH include:
- Embryonic Cell Damage: The laser-assisted hatching procedure uses Tyrode’s solution and a laser beam, which don’t offer a 100% guarantee of safety. It’s important to know that any interference with or manipulation of the embryo involves a certain degree of risk. One such risk with the process is the embryo getting lethally damaged.
- Risk of unfavourable results: Although the success rate for this procedure is high, successful live births are still unpredictable. The parents, IVF specialists, and embryologists must make an informed decision.
Laser-assisted hatching can be a boon for couples and has been proven to be a superior alternative to several other fertility methods. The process is far more accurate and doesn’t involve manual handling of the embryo, decreasing the chances of any damage.
It is, however, important to discuss it with a fertility expert.
As per experts, the embryo implants itself on the uterine wall at least two days after the transfer is completed. It can sometimes go up to 5 days, but it usually takes 2 or 3 days.
Laser-assisted hatching has been shown to increase the rate of implantation and pregnancy in women over 35 years of age. The procedure is ideal for women who have had repeated implantation failures or post-transfer of frozen-thawed embryos.
The embryo is usually held using a holding pipette, after which a hollow needle is used to apply the acidic solution against the zona pellucida. Once this is done, a small hole is made in the shell by digesting it with the solution shortly before the embryo transfer.
No, but assisted hatching is often a part of the IVF and ICSI procedures that help people have babies.
The main goal should be to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet that includes protein, fiber, and vegetables.