WHAT IS LASER ASSISTED HATCHING ?
Laser hatching: a new technique for infertility treatment
The human egg is surrounded by a shell which is called the Zona Pellucida (ZP). This has a significant role in fertilization. The zona allows only one sperm at a time to penetrate the egg and fertilize it. It also plays a significant role in the prevention of premature implantation of the egg in the fallopian tube. It also protects the embryo from becoming a target of the immune system of the woman.
The process of hatching pertains to the breaking of embryos out of the zona to embed itself into the endometrium. It usually happens after the embryo transfer has taken place at the blastocyst stage. It takes place four to five days after the embryo transfer. Assisted laser hatching in Punjab is available at many clinics.
Various techniques of assisted hatching
Laser-assisted hatching can be done in various ways :
- Chemical: It involves the use of chemicals to weaken the zona. The embryologist uses a microtool which has a chemical on it. The process is not quite accurate as accuracy is hard to achieve through such small quantities of chemicals. It also needs the washing off the acid otherwise it could result in damage to the embryo.
- Laser: In this process, the zona is drilled by laser rays which are known as Fertilase. It makes a clear cut incision in the zona. Laser-assisted hatching is a better option.
What makes the laser more accurate?
- Faster: The method is faster than the chemical method as the procedure doesn’t require holding the embryo in an auction pipette to make it still. Use of a vibration-free table is also required to prevent any accidental movement of the embryo.
- More accurate: The laser technique is more accurate and independent of the skill of the operator. The results are highly accurate. It is one of the most crucial steps in infertility treatment.
Who is eligible for laser hatching?
- The patient who require IVF or ICSI
- Patients who are above 37 years of age.
- Patients who experienced a failed IVF or ICSI treatment cycle
- Patients who have experienced a failed IVF treatment or ICSI treatment cycle with no results.
- Patients who are undergoing IVF/ICSI for the first time, and require a high amount of gonadotrophins as they have a poor ovarian response67. Patients who had a low fertilization rate in a previous IVF cycle.
- Patients who have three or fewer embryos
- Patients who desire laser assisted hatching and are fully aware about it.
- Patients with FER(Frozen embryo replacement).
Laser Assisted Hatching
IVF has a bright present and a promising future. Sometimes, the failure of IVF is due to problems in implantation. The reason lies in the fact that zona pellucida ( the shell of the embryo ) becomes hard when it is cultured in the lab.
Embryo surgery or Zona drilling is done to soften the shell of the embryo. This process helps in increasing the chances of implantation and pregnancy. The past treatment methods used chemicals for the same purpose but this carried the risk of damage to the embryo. Acids were used, which posed a threat to the embryo. The method was not precise as well.
With the development of Laser-assisted embryo hatching, it is possible to create a precise opening in the zona without worrying about the damage to the embryo. The technique is readily available in India.