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University of Colorado Denver


Assisted hatching is a procedure that may be used in conjunction with IVF. This procedure is utilized in patients undergoing IVF with a below normal chance of getting pregnant. Assisted hatching is used for patients who have failed previous IVF procedures, are over 38 years old, have an elevated FSH level, or poor oocyte/embryo quality based on information from egg or embryo evaluation. In an effort to assist implantation of human embryos, Assisted Hatching (AH) may improve the chance of pregnancy. As part of the AH procedure, eggs will be examined, inseminated, and evaluated for fertilization using standard IVF techniques. If fertilization occurs, embryos will be selected for assisted hatching on the day of the scheduled embryo transfer. The embryos will be placed into growth medium, covered with a mineral oil and, using special instruments, a small opening in the outer covering (zona pellucida) will be made by either mechanical or chemical means in an effort to enable "blastocyst hatching" and enhance implantation success.

The risks associated with the assisted hatching include: 1) the potential of increased incidence of multiple pregnancy including monozygotic (identical) twinning, 2) damage/destruction to the embryo by mechanical trauma, environmental exposure of handling, 3) failed implantation, 4) potential for "conjoined" or "siamese" twins, and 5) potential for infection to reach the embryo through the hole that is created.

The incidence of congenital and genetic abnormality is unknown for embryos utilizing Assisted Hatching. Children born as a result of Assisted Hatching have thus far shown no increased incidence of malformation over those born from either natural reproductive means or assisted reproductive technologies; however, AH is a relatively new procedure. The expected benefit of Assisted Hatching is the increased establishment of pregnancy.

University of Colorado Denver
Advanced Reproductive Medicine

Anschutz Medical Campus Office
Location: 1635 Aurora Court, Aurora, CO 80045
Mailing: PO Box 6510, Mail Stop F701, Aurora, CO 80045
Tel: 720.848.1690
Toll-free: 1.888.899.7441
Fax: 720.848.1678
Colorado Springs Office
4125 Briargate Parkway, Suite 350
Colorado Springs, CO 80920
Tel: 719.314.3333
Fax: 719.314.3344

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