Washington Center for Reproductive Medicine

Assisted Hatching

In an IVF cycle, the fertilized egg is incubated until a mature embryo has formed and is ready for transfer.  The embryo is surrounded by a thin membrane termed the zona pellucida.

In order for the embryo to successfully implant in the endometrium, it must “break free” or “hatch” from the zona pellucida. Assisted hatching is a procedure that may help the embryo hatch from its surrounding membrane.

The assisted hatching procedure involves making a small hole in the zona pellucida prior to embryo transfer. This hole can be made using chemicals such as Acid Tyrode’s solution, mechanically using a microscopic needle, or with a laser. These procedures do not damage the developing embryo.

Opinions differ as to the effectiveness of assisted hatching and it is not routinely performed.  If Dr. Kustin feels assisted hatching is appropriate in your case, he will discuss the procedure with you.  Please ask him any questions you have about the assisted hatching procedure.



















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