Assisted hatching is a specialised interference aimed at thinning and breaking "zona pellucida" of the embryo before transferring it into the uterine cavity. In English, hatching means "breaking and emerging out of an eggshell". There are different techniques of assisted hatching, and the most secure of them is the enzymatic hatching – dissolution of the embryo shell using special mediums.
Within 4-6 days after fertilisation, the egg travels via the uterine tubes before attaching itself – become implanted in the uterus. The division of future embryo's cells occurs simultaneously – this is the first stage of its pre-implantation development.
At this time, the embryo is very vulnerable, that's why it is surrounded by the glycoprotein shell – "zona pellucida", which means "transparent coat" in Latin. "Zona pellucida" performs several functions: it protects the embryo from mechanical damage, provides transportation of vital nutrients and regulates the process of normal implantation.
This coat is a sort of an "eggshell", which is absolutely necessary for the embryo at this stage of development. But when it comes to implantation, it represents a serious obstacle. Therefore, on 5-7 day, the embryo's cells produce special enzymes that dissolve the "eggshell", so the embryo is safely implanted into the uterus and the pregnancy occurs. The process of "zona pellucida" dissolution is called hatching.
If the embryo is weakened or "zona pellucida" has pathological features, the process of self-hatching – "breaking out of the egg" – becomes hampered. The embryo can be lost unable to attach itself in the uterus.
Embryologists found a way out of this situation – assisted hatching. The method is applied as part of the in vitro fertilisation (IVF) programme during the cultivation of embryo in the laboratory – right before implanting it into the uterus.
Indications for enzymatic assisted hatching
An embryologist shall decide whether embryo needs help "hatching out" from the shell by observing its development in the laboratory. The decision to assign enzymatic assisted hatching will be adopted by the joint efforts of fertility specialist and embryologist, based on many factors of infertility in the couple. Hatching is often assigned in the following cases:
the age of future mother is over 38;
infertility of unknown origin;
history of unsuccessful IVF cycles.
Enzymatic assisted hatching at МАМА Riga Clinic
At MAMA Riga Clinic, we always prefer the most careful and safe techniques. Therefore, assisted hatching in our Infertility Treatment and IVF Centre is the enzymatic assisted hatching.
This is a special medium containing the enzymes as close as possible to those substances that normally should be developed by the cells of the embryo itself. Under the effect of this medium, "zona pellucida" is completely dissolved, so the embryo is ready to be implanted into the uterus. The action of enzymes is safe and excludes mechanical damage to the embryo.
A decision on the necessary enzymatic hatching will be taken by embryologist, fertility specialist and future parents. We can recommend this procedure to increase the chances of pregnancy in various cases. Assisted hatching helps for selective embryo transfer in the case of obtaining individual embryos after fertilisation, when both future parents are at their late reproductive age and the number and quality of their germ cells are reduced to a critical level.
Enzymatic assisted hatching can bring you closer to the birth of the long-awaited child and reduce the risks of implantation failure. Undergoing enzymatic assisted hatching in MAMA RIGA Clinic increases the frequency of pregnancy for IVF programmes by 10-15%.