LAH is laser assisted hatching is the art of hatching the embryo. A small hole is made in the shell of the embryo (zonapellucida) using special laser and micromanipulation techniques. This facilitates embryo hatching and implantation. The sperm is immobilized prior to its injection into the cytoplasm of the egg by knicking its tail. Instead of using the micropipette to perform this procedure, the laser beam is focused on the sperm tail thus immobilizing it in a few milliseconds without damage to the rest of the sperm. Sperm tail immobilization by the laser obviates the need to suspend the sperm in PVP.
The procedure involves an embryologist sending a brief, strong light beam, under a microscope, to create a gap in the shell through which the embryo can come out. This is usually done three days after fertilisation has occurred during an IVF or Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) cycle, which is when the embryo has begun to cleave (divide). It takes only a few seconds and does not harm the embryo. The embryo is then transferred back into the patient's uterus to attach itself to the lining and continue growing.
Any patient can take advantage of laser-assisted hatching, but those most likely to be best suited are those who:
Are above the age of 37
Produce a high level of Follicle
Stimulating Hormone (FSH) early in their cycle
Have had unsuccessful IVF cycles
Have a tendency to produce a harder and/or thicker zona pellucida