IVF Assisted Hatching

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IVF Assisted Hatching: aka Assisted Hatching, Assisted Reproductive Technology




What is it?


Assisted hatching is an assisted reproductive technique often used during in vitro fertilization or IVF techniques. It helps embryos hatch out of its layering to implant into the uterus, greatly increasing the odds of a successful pregnancy. Assisted hatching is a new tool that can greatly increase the odds of successful IVF for the thousands of couples desperate to have a biological child!


Typically embryos once conceived much hatch out of a pre-fetus state. Embryos often exist in a protective layer called a zona pellicuda. They must much like a chick must break out of an egg, break out of this lining to attach to the uterine wall. This can be a tough job for the tiny embryo. Sometimes the zona pellucida is too thick or the embryo is too weak. Assisted hatching simply helps embryos break away because it creates the small hole for them.




The Operation


The assisted hatching procedure is very delicate and requires a lot of technical grace and dexterity. It must occur during the fourth day of embryonic development in the petrie dish of the laboratory. Here is what happens.


First, the lab technician will take a special tool called a pipette and hold the embryo steady. Then a hollow needle is used with a solution of acid-like material. This material is placed adjacent to the zona pellicuda. A miniscule amount of the solution is placed on the needle so it comes right into contact with the zona pellicuda. This will slowly eat away at this protective layer, to create a tiny hole from which the embryo can sneak out of. The embryo is then washed in a special solution and then the transfer of the embryo to the uterus takes place.


Next, the embryo is placed or transferred into the uterus and with luck, the embryo will transplant into the uterus and implant into the uterine lining.


Only certain women are eligible for assisted hatching. These include:


  • Women over age 37 because they may have more difficulty conceiving
  • Women with elevated follicle stimulating hormone on day 3 of their cycle
  • Women that have not successfully conceived during previous in vitro fertilization attempts
  • Couples that have proven thick zona pellicuda




Alternatives to Surgery


There are many alternatives to surgery including intrauterine insemination and ICSI. Many couples may prefer traditional surrogacy or gestational surrogacy. Traditional in vitro fertilization may seem like a less risky proposition to some couples. However, for couples that have run into obstacles with IVF or have high odds stacked against them, assisted hatching may see like a better bet from the very start.


Remember that not all couples are candidate for this procedure. You may need to qualify based on your risk profile. Because this is a highly specialized field and a newer field you may need to qualify and you will need to fully understand the risks associated with this procedure. The risk of identical twins and the risk of harm to the embryo are much more likely because of the nature of the procedure and the manipulation of the embryo involved with assisted hatching.




Before the Operation


Before the operation the mother will undergo the same types of preparation that she would normally if she were undergoing in vitro fertilization. The mother will also have to take antibiotics and other medications that will lower her immune system to prevent her from rejecting the embryo once implanted because the embryo is treated with special agents to help form a hole in the lining for the embryo to pass through and attach to the uterus. These chemicals can sometimes trigger the immune system, which is one reason the mother must take these drugs and medications.




After the Operation- At Home


A woman will be able to return home and resume normal activities shortly after the procedure, much the same as she would any other assisted reproductive procedure.




Possible Complications


There are risks associated with assisted hatching, hence the limitations. Some of the risks associated with the procedure include risk of damage to the embryo, which could cause its death. Other risks may include fetal complications, possible physical deformity to the embryo or the risk of conjoined twins. Sometimes the mother may also experience complications, which may include infection, nausea and high blood pressure. Usually these are the results of medications the mother has to take during the procedure to slow down the immune system so the embryo isn’t attacked.




General Advice


Assisted hatching can be a godsend for couples that have had trouble with IVF, but it is not without risk. Women can perhaps try IVF with fewer embryo transfers and may have an increased success rate or odds of success for implantation. However it is only recommended for certain women and it is not easy to perform. It does come with many potential complications, so it must not be taken lightly. The odds of success are almost 50 percent in women between the ages of 35 and 40. If you are interested in this procedure talk with your doctor about it. It may be the best decision you will ever make.




Estimated Costs for In Vitro Fertilization Assisted Hatching


Country Costs IVF
USA $17,000 per cycle
India $2300 per cycle
Malaysia $2000 per cycle
Singapore $2800 per cycle
Thailand $2100 per cycle

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