Laser Assisted Hatching
The advent of the laser has allowed the development of precision techniques to manipulate embryos for enhanced fertility. Laser-assisted hatching can turn around a history of failure for embryos to implant themselves in the uterine wall.
Assisted hatching is used to help the embryo hatch from its protective outer shell, the zona pellucida, and promote implantation in the uterine wall after embryo transfer. Laser-assisted hatching (LAH) with the LYKOS or ZILOS-tk uses a highly focused infrared laser beam to remove the zona pellucida in very precise increments. Prior to the clinical availability of the lasers, only mechanical or chemical methods could be used for assisted hatching of human embryos in clinical settings. Laser-assisted hatching requires less handling of the embryo than these other assisted hatching methods. Also, laser-assisted hatching is faster than the other methods and, therefore, the embryo spends less time outside the incubator.
How is assisted hatching done?
During assisted hatching, the outer shell of the embryo is artificially weakened by making a small hole in the zona pellucida. This can be done in several different ways. One method involves the application of an acid solution, called Tyrode’s solution, to help melt a small hole in the shell. Another method involves the use of a laser to “crack” the shell.