Assisted hatching is a procedure in which the zona(shell) of the embryo is opened using the technique of micromanipulation. This facilitates its hatching in the uterus and improves implantation and pregnancy rates. Pregnancy rates rise upto 70% with this technique.
What is LAH?
LAH is laser assisted hatching is the art of hatching the embryo. A small hole is made in the shell of the embryo (zonapellucida) using special laser and micromanipulation techniques. This facilitates embryo hatching and implantation.
We also use the laser for sperm immobilization. The sperm is immobilized prior to its injection into the cytoplasm of the egg by knicking its tail. Instead of using the micropipette to perform this procedure, the laser beam is focused on the sperm tail thus immobilizing it in a few milliseconds without damage to the rest of the sperm. Sperm tail immobilization by the laser obviates the need to suspend the sperm in PVP.
The diode laser is also used to make the opening in the zona through which a single cell (blastomere) is aspirated out for genetic analysis.
When is LAH used and who benefits from this procedure?
- When a hard or thick egg shell (zonaPellucida) is perceived.
- Recommended usage on women of older ages (> 35 years of age).
- Women with frozen embryos.
- Women who have had previous IVF failures.
- Women detected with high FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone) levels.
In order to further enhance our pregnancy rates, the laser technology is used for assisted embryo hatching. The Laser beam is focused, so as to thin out “The ZONA” at a point generally 1/4 of the embryos circumference in order to facilitate embryo hatching. The entire procedure is completed in a few milli seconds. Laser beam is focused on the zonapellucida to thin it down to around 10 microns. This thinning in the zonapellucida helps the embryo to escape.
Advantages of LAH
- Simple, fast and safe method of hatching as compared to acidic hatching procedures.
- Accurate – since the accuracy of the laser is pre-programmed.
- Pregnancy rates are enhanced from 50% to 65% with LAH.
- Takes only few milliseconds to complete.
- Automated process with less chances of manual errors.
- Drastically improves the efficacy of IVF and ICSI procedures.