In the final stages of embryo development, usually Day 5 after fertilisation, the embryo reaches the blastocyst stage. Each blastocyst has many cells which are protected by the “zona” or “zona pellucida”, the embryo’s gel like, transparent outer shell.

For the blastocyst embryo to successfully implant itself to the wall of the uterus after transfer, it must perform “zona hatching” where the zonz pellucida is degraded. However, research has shown that embryos which are created through IVF may not possess the ability to successfully disrupt and breakthrough the zona.

Assisted hatching is a laboratory technique which can be completed to help the embryos hatch from the zona. A very small hole is made in the zona by our experienced embryologists at Team Miracle using a high powered microscope and fine needle. Assisted hatching is completed just before the embryo transfer on all of the embryos chosen for transfer.

Research has shown that embryos that have undergone assisted hatching have a greater tendency to implant and in fact assisted hatched embryos even demonstrate implantation one day earlier than unhatched embryos.

As a result, at Team Miracle we strongly recommended assisted hatching for women over 35 years of age or women with high FSH levels. These women are more likely to have thicker or tougher zona pellucida’s making it more difficult for the embryo to hatch, leading to implantation failure. In this situation, assisted hatching can significantly increase both implantation and pregnancy rates.
Team Miracle also recommends assisted hatching to those who have experienced failed IVF cycles as a result of unsuccessful implantation previously. Without hatching, the blastocyst can’t implant itself to the uterine wall so assisted hatching can aid in this process, ‘freeing; the embryo and allowing it to implant successfully.

To summarise:

  • Assisted hatching creates a small hole in the zona pellucida which allows the embryos to hatch and implant more easily.
  • It is recommended for all treatments by Team Miracle’s embryologists but strongly recommended for those women over 35 years old, with high FSH or with previous experience of implantation failure.