Laser-assisted hatching is one of IVF (In- vitro-fertilization) most advanced techniques. Dr. Hrishikesh Pai will talk about LAH (laser-assisted hatching) in this article.
Dr. Hrishikesh Pai an IVF specialist, runs several IVF centres in Mumbai and has performed over 10000 treatments and procedures for patients. His IVF centres are established as Bloom IVF centre in Mumbai and several other locations pan India.
The Laser assisted hatching method has been proven far superior to other chemical or manual processes.
Assisted hatching is a laboratory procedure often done with IVF treatment. This particular scientific IVF technique is a boon and new hope for couples that haven’t found positive results despite umpteen IVF cycles. The chances for pregnancy are improved with this assisted hatching method.
This step aims to aid the process of embryo hatching and increase the chance of implantation.
Read on to know more about laser assisted hatching,
What is laser-assisted hatching?
We’ll first see what embryo hatching is – during development, the embryo forms an outer cover called zona pellucida. Hatching is a natural process in which the embryo hatches out of the shell and attaches itself to the uterus wall for pregnancy.
Laser-assisted hatching is a technique that helps the embryo to come out of its shell (zona pellucida) by creating an opening in the shell.
Procedure for laser-assisted hatching.
Dr. Hrishikesh Pai, one of the best IVF doctor in India will explain the procedure for LAH,
After the fertilization of the egg, the outer shell (zona pellucida) of the embryo hardens. This development is essential to keep the cells together.
The embryos have to break through the outer shell to embed themselves into the lining of the uterine cavity. This process happens 3-4 days after embryo transfer when the embryo is in the blastocyst stage(A blastocyst is a cluster of dividing cells made by a fertilized egg).
When The sperms and eggs are cultured in the IVF lab, the outer covering of the shell becomes harder, thus becoming more difficult for the embryo to break through and implant itself in the uterus.
In Laser-assisted hatching(LAH), the doctor makes a hole in the outer covering of the shell to make it easier for the embryo to come out.
This process is done by placing a laser beam over the zona pellucida ( outer covering) and creating a small opening between 10-20 microns to assist embryo hatching.
The entire process of laser hatching is automated, and therefore the accuracy of the laser beam is predetermined.
Suitable Candidate for this Procedure (LAH)
According to Dr. Hrishikesh Pai, the most suitable candidates for Laser-assisted hatching includes,
- If you had two or more unsuccessful IVF cycles: IVF cannot always guarantee pregnancy; in such cases, LAH can help with it
- If you have high levels of FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone): Women with high FSH tend to form hard covering shells for the eggs.
- low-quality embryo: Low-quality embryos fail to hatch and implant themselves in the uterine wall.
- If you have opted for cryopreservation: Cryopreserved embryos develop a hard outer layer.
- Older than 40 years: Women older than 40 tend to produce eggs that have zona pellucida.
Advantages of Laser-assisted hatching (LAH)
Laser-assisted hatching has many benefits over the other IVF procedures; some advantages of laser-assisted hatching:
- Safe handling of the embryos
- Quick and precise drilling of the shell opening
- The method is gentle, and there is no negative impact on the embryo
- Nor Risk of congenital disabilities in the babies
Some other methods of assisted hatching
- Mechanical hatching: With this method, the embryologist uses a pipette to maintain the embryo steady while puncturing the zona pellucida, allowing the needle to pass just beneath the shell for a brief period of time, and then emerging through the other end. (Picture a very fine line being drawn just next to the embryo.) Then a little rip forms as a result of gentle rubbing in the region in between the two punctures. This approach makes it challenging to regulate the opening’s size.
- Mechanical expansion of the shell: With this technique, the zona pellucida is not broken open. Instead, hydrostatic pressure is introduced just under the shell, to cause it to expand. The idea for this method comes from the natural expansion of the outer shell during the hatching process.
- Chemical hatching: This technique involves using a chemical known as Tyrode’s solution. Tiny amounts of acid are applied to the zona pellucida until the shell is breached. Then, the embryo is quickly cleaned to avoid unnecessary acid exposure.
- Laser-assisted hatching: Using a specialized laser to breach the zona pellucida is another possibility. Laser-assisted hatching allows much more control of the size of the hole created, more so than mechanical hatching with a needle.
Of all the methods, laser-assisted hatching may be the safest and most effective. However, not every embryology lab is equipped to perform this specific technology.
Hatching process has no doubt improved the clinical pregnancy rates. The goal set for any sort of fertility treatment is taking a baby home, not simply getting a positive pregnancy test. Embryologist’s experience plays a bigger part in making the process successful.