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Friday, January 7, 2011

Round 2 (IVM): Step 5 - Assisted Hatching

I phoned the hospital today with some questions about the last 4 embryos I had in the lab and while I was at it I asked about the assisted hatching. It seems that it WAS done and I just missed it with everything going on around me. So, what is it?

Embryos are transferred once they reach the blastocyst stage of development. Normally, the blastocyst itself would perform the zona hatching in order to implant on the uterus but in many cases with IVF or IVM, the lab performs a technique called Assisted Hatching in order to increase the chances of pregnancy.

The easiest way I have found to describe this is with a chicken egg. Basically, the yolk inside is what needs to attach to the uterus. In order to do that, it must first break through the shell. Research has shown that, for a variety of reasons, the "shell" of the embryo can sometimes become too tough for this to occur so a small hole is made by the lab making it easier for the yolk to spill out once transferred.

I cannot find any clear statistics but it seems as though the opinion on assisted hatching varies. Some research says it has no effect while others show significant increases in success rates so who knows! As long as it works for me I am happy!

And, as for my remaining embryos... 2 did not make it and the other 2 have been frozen for future use.