Laser-assisted hatching is a process whereby a low energy laser beam is used to thin a part of the Zona Pellucida (the outermost membrane that surrounds an embryo). The purpose of assisted hatching is to allow the embryo to hatch more easily from its “shell.” Hatching must occur in all pregnancies, whether naturally occurring or as a result of in-vitro fertilization to enable embryos to implant in the lining of the uterus.
The process of laser-assisted Hatching may be helpful in cases where a woman’s eggs have a thicker than normal Zona Pellucida, when using thawed frozen embryos, in older women (over 38 years of age) when the Zona Pellucida may be hardened, and in women who have experienced repeated in-vitro fertilization failures.
Damage to the embryo resulting in its failure to develop is a potential risk of Assisted Hatching.
This complication is rare.
To our knowledge, there is no reported increase in congenital, physical or genetic abnormalities in children born following the use of assisted hatching, compared with the normal and expected incidence in maternal age-matched naturally conceived pregnancies.