The Concept

Human eggs and embryos present a shell, called “zona pellucida” (ZP) that protects the embryo during the development. The hatching of the embryo from the ZP during the blastocyst stage is a necessary process for the subsequent implantation into the uterus.

Difficulties of the blastocyst to hatch out of the zona pellucida may lead to implantation failure making impossible to get a pregnancy. These biomechanical problems can be due to an increase in the thickness of the zona pellucida which, in turn, is usually associated with patient age.

Assisted Hatching (AH) is an In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) technique where a hole or a thinning is made in the ZP of cleavage embryos (embryos on day 2 or 3 of development) with the aim of facilitating the escape of the blastocyst (day 5 or 6 of development) from its outer coat and hence the implantation into the uterus. Though this process does not improve the quality of the embryo, it may significantly increase the chances of pregnancy in selected patient groups undergoing IVF.

Our laboratories offer AH by using the latest technology available based on the energy released by laser pulses that can dissolve the zona pellucida of the embryo. This technique is safe and quick minimizing the disturbance of the embryo during the procedure.

Laser AH represents the safest technology available in the market for this procedure since prevents the exposure of the embryos to potentially harmful chemicals or mechanical injuries and decrease drastically the time of the procedure minimizing the embryo culture conditions.

The Technology

The laser system is composed by the laser objective (hardware), which generates and releases the required energy in the form of laser shots allowing the zona pellucida to be dissolved, and a software which provides to the operator a precisely control of the laser energy output, pulse duration and the hole size. Our centres have highly skill professionals with the required training to operate with this sophisticated instrumentation.

Who is this for

Any patient can be benefited from the use of this technology although it is especially recommended for:
• Women over the age of 35 or couples whose embryos have a particularly thick zona pellucida.
• Couples with previous IVF cycles failures
• Couples presenting poor quality embryos.