Laser-assisted hatching increases pregnancy and implantation rates in cryopreserved embryos that were allowed to cleave in vitro after thawing: a prospective randomized study

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

Cryopreservation of embryos may lead to zona hardening that may compromise in vivo hatching and implantation following thawing and transfer. Assisted hatching (AH) has been advocated as a means of assisting the natural hatching process and enhancing implantation.

METHODS

The aim of this study was to assess in a prospective randomized manner the effect of laser-assisted hatching (LAH) on implantation as well as clinical and multiple pregnancy rates (the primary outcome) after the transfer of frozen–thawed embryos. All embryos were thawed the day before transfer, and LAH was performed the next day on embryos that cleaved. Control group consisted of embryos that were transferred without AH.

RESULTS

The performance of LAH significantly increased implantation (9.9 versus 20.1%, P < 0.01), clinical pregnancy (27.3 versus 40.9, P < 0.05) and multiple pregnancy rates (16 versus 40.3%, P < 0.07). In the LAH group, significantly more excess embryos that were left in culture hatched in vitro.

CONCLUSIONS

LAH improves the outcome of frozen–thawed embryo transfer when performed before transfer on embryos that were allowed to cleave.

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