Laser assisted hatching (LAH) is a procedure used in assisted reproductive technologies (ART) such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) to help embryos to hatch from their outer shell (zygote). The process involves using a laser to create a small opening in the zona pellucida (the outer shell of the embryo) to help the embryo to hatch and implant in the uterus.
LAH may be used in cases where the zona pellucida is thick and the embryo has difficulty hatching naturally, or in cases where there is a history of implantation failure or repeated IVF failures. The procedure is performed in the laboratory, a day or two before the embryo transfer.
However, it’s important to note that LAH is a technically demanding procedure and there is limited scientific evidence to support its routine use. Therefore, the use of LAH should be based on individual patient circumstances and should be discussed with a reproductive specialist.
Like any medical procedure, laser assisted hatching (LAH) can have potential complications. Some of the risks and side effects associated with LAH include:
- Embryo damage: The laser can potentially damage the embryo or disrupt its normal development, leading to reduced implantation rates or increased risk of miscarriage.
- Over- or under-hatching: The laser can either damage the embryo by making too large an opening in the zona pellucida, or not make enough of an opening, which can lead to difficulty hatching and reduced implantation rates.
- Increased risk of multiple pregnancies: LAH does not guarantee a successful pregnancy, but if it does occur, the increased chance of hatching may increase the risk of multiple pregnancies.
- Technological failures: LAH is a technically demanding procedure and there is a risk of equipment failure or human error, which could compromise the success of the procedure.
It’s important to discuss the potential risks and benefits of LAH with a reproductive specialist and to make an informed decision about whether this procedure is right for you.