Is it Worth it to Use Assisted Hatching?
When you’re considering any elective medical procedure, you need to know the risks, and weigh them against the benefits. The choice of whether or not to have an elective procedure is very personal, and every person will make their choice differently. Here, we’ll discuss the major risks and benefits of using assisted hatching.
Assisted hatching is a procedure that’s sometimes used as part of in vitro fertilization (IVF); in IVF, eggs are retrieved from a woman’s ovaries, combined with sperm in the laboratory, and the resulting embryos are later transferred into the woman’s uterus, where it’s hoped that they’ll implant and cause pregnancy. Assisted hatching is used just before the embryos are transferred; it breaks the “shell” of proteins that encloses the embryo. For more on what it’s like to have assisted hatching, please see Assisted Hatching: the Procedure and Recovery.
Please note that this page is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for qualified, individualized medical advice. You should discuss your potential elective procedure with your own doctor(s), including your primary care physician and the provider who will perform your procedure if you decide to proceed.
Any treatment has risks, and it’s important to be aware of them so that you can weigh them against the benefits.
Assisted hatching does carry a risk of damage to the embryo. As the zona pellucida (the “shell” of proteins that surrounds the embryo) is broken, it’s possible that the acid or laser used to perform the procedure could also damage the embryo itself.
This procedure is also associated with an increased risk of multiple births. In particular, assisted hatching has been shown in some studies to increase the risk of monozygotic twins (“identical twins”), which form when one embryo divides into two.
Some centers perform assisted hatching on all embryos, regardless of the diagnoses of the parents. However, experts don’t recommend this approach, because the scientific research doesn’t support the idea that it’s useful in improving outcomes of IVF in most patients.
The risks associated with assisted hatching also include all of the usual risks of IVF, especially the ovulation induction medications that are necessary to perform IVF. To learn more about these risks, please visit In Vitro Fertilization (IVF): Risks and Benefits as well as Ovulation Induction: Risks and Benefits.
For some couples, assisted hatching could make the difference between being able to have a child and not being able to do so. If assisted hatching allows an embryo to implant and cause a pregnancy, it’s able to create a family that otherwise may not have existed.
Although IVF (with or without assisted hatching) carries many risks, many women believe that almost anything is worth enduring for their children. Most people who have children wouldn’t trade them for anything. Although IVF may cause discomfort and carries significant risks, if it allows a woman to become pregnant with her child, these downsides are often quickly forgotten.
The cost for assisted hatching is around $400 to $1,000 per cycle; this is in addition to the regular cost of an IVF cycle, which is around $12,400. The cost varies depending on several factors, including the region and the particular clinic. You should check with the provider(s) you’re considering to determine the exact cost. Keep in mind that financing is often available. For more detail, visit our Assisted Hatching Cost page.