IVF or In Vitro Fertilization can be a fairly frustrating experience for couples who are having trouble conceiving naturally. This is mainly due to the fact that many times, the embryo does not get implanted successfully in the uterus. An infertility specialist may recommend a procedure called assisted hatching if a couple have a number of failed IVF procedures or have a poor prognosis for IVF.Defining Assisted Hatching
The cells start to divide once an egg has been fertilized in a laboratory. The embryo, in these initial stages of development, is situated in the zona pellicuda, which is a layer of proteins. The embryo must be able to hatch out of this layer or proteins and subsequently attach itself to the uterine wall, to allow successful implantation into the lining of the uterus.
Assisted hatching refers to a revolutionary laboratory procedure which was created when it was found that those embryos that had a thinner zona pellucid showed a better chance of implantation during IVF procedures. In the technique of assisted hatching, micromanipulation under a microscope is used by an embryologist to make a tiny hole in the zona pellucida. This is done on the fourth day of development of the embryo, when an average of six to eight cells is reported inside the embryo.
A holding pipette is used to stabilize the embryos. On the other side, a small defect is made in the zona pellucida by a small pipette that contains an acidified solution. Any excess acid solution is then removed by rinsing the embryos, which are then returned to the incubator for a couple of hours before they are transferred into the uterus.Success Rates of Assisted Hatching
Studies have shown that assisted hatching improved the success rate of pregnancy among women between the ages of 35 and 40. According to some published research studies, the pregnancy rates in candidates who have undergone in vitro fertilization procedures with assisted hatching have been known to be higher than those candidates who have opted for In Vitro Fertilization without assisted hatching.Candidates for Assisted Hatching
There are different parameters to gauge whether someone is a viable candidate for assisted hatching with an in vitro fertilization case. It is thought to be especially useful for those couples that have a poor prognosis and whose embryos are considered to be unable to complete the hatching process without any assistance. Age is yet another factor to determine candidacy. Usually, women over the age of 37, known as advanced maternal age, are considered good candidates for assisted hatching with an in vitro fertilization case. The quality factor of the embryo is yet another deciding factor. For instance, embryos that display slow rates of cell division, excessive fragmentation or a thicker outer shell (zona pellucida) might need assisted hatching. If the patient has had one or more previous failed IVF cycles, they might be a good candidate for assisted hatching with an in vitro fertilization case.Risks Involved in Assisted Hatching
There is a chance that assisted hatching might result in a few complications. This procedure has been known to be associated with damage to individual blastomeres and damage to the embryo, thereby causing a reduction in how viable the embryo might be. Additionally, assisted hatching has been known to produce identical or monozygotic twins, as compared to regular In Vitro Fertilization techniques.
Assisted hatching in In Vitro Fertilization techniques are definitely the future of fertility treatments that are poised to help infertile couples all around the world.
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