Assisted hatching (AH) is a procedure in which the zona pellucida (outer covering) of the embryo is partially opened, usually by application of an acid or laser, to facilitate embryo implantation and pregnancy.·
Assisted hatching is a laboratory procedure that is sometimes done along with in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment. While the embryo develops, it is surrounded by cells that make up a protective shell (zona pellucida). The embryo naturally breaks out of this shell as it grows. Occasionally, the doctor may ask the laboratory to make a small “crack” in the outer shell of the embryo right before it is placed into the woman’s body (assisted hatching). The hope is that assisted hatching might help the embryo expand, implant into the uterine wall, and finally lead to a pregnancy.
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