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Babies who had our help

In vitro fertilization IVF pictures of assisted hatching of day 3 embryos

  • The photos below demonstrate the process of assisted hatching in IVF
  • Assisted hatching can improve the chances for a couple to achieve successful pregnancy with IVF
  • Some embryos may need help escaping from within their shells - so they can successfully implant into the mother's uterine lining.

IVF picture just prior to beginning the hatching process on an 8-cell embryo

Picture of assisted hatching IVF embryo
Holding pipette on left holds embryo in place
Hatching is done by injecting a solution through the hollow needle on the right
Hatching can also be done with a special laser instead of with this solution
Some cumulus cells from the ovary are stuck to the embryo's shell at 4 to 6 o'clock

Early in the hatching process


IVF image
Hatching a high quality 8-cell embryo
A small opening is being made in the embryo's shell (zona pellucida)

Hatching is progressing further

Assisted hatching at ivf
The needle has been further advanced through the embryo's shell
A gap in the shell is developing

Hatching is almost completed


IVF hatching
A gap in the zona has been created
The oolemma (egg membrane) is bulging and about to "pop"
When it pops - assisted hatching is complete

Hatching completed

Hatching competed

Assisted hatching detail image
Zoomed-in detail of needle tip (N) and zona (Z)

The zona and the oolemma have been breached
Tip of hatching needle is now seen just inside the shell
The gap in the zona is seen between the arrows in the upper image
Dissolving the hole in the zona from start to finish takes about 5 seconds


Hatching blastocyst from ivf
A day 5 blastocyst that is hatching from its shell
Part of the embryo is still inside the shell (upper left),
and part has hatched out of the shell (lower right)
This is what we are trying to "assist" when we use assisted hatching

Empty zona pellucida from IVF
"Empty zona" - the cells of the embryo have escaped
through a crack in the zona
The break can be seen by the "X" at 5 o'clock

An embryo that has completely hatched (hatched blastocyst) can implant in the uterus

If you are reading this - you hatched too...