What is Assisted Hatching?

From the fertility booklet The A.R.T. of Fertility: A patient guide
by the Fertility Center of Miami

When the embryo is ready to implant, it hatches out of the outer shell and begins to burrow in the uterus. Assisted hatching is a procedure performed by the embryologist under the microscope which involves making a small tear in the protective outer coating of an embryo to facilitate hatching. In older patients and in cases of previously failed IVF attempts, assisted hatching may improve the chances of the embryo implanting into the womb. Assisted hatching is not performed on “fresh” (not previously frozen) blastocysts.

Patients prepare for assisted hatching by taking antibiotics and steroid pills starting a day before the transfer and continuing for a total of 4 days. These measures are taken to protect the embryo from possible immune or bacterial assaults once they are transferred.

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