Assisted hatching is a laboratory procedure that is sometimes done along with in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment. During assisted hatching, the outer shell of the embryo is artificially weakened by making a small hole in the outer covering called zona pellucida. Assisted hatching may help the embryo to implant into the uterine wall, and lead to a pregnancy.
Experts do not recommend the use of assisted hatching in all patients undergoing IVF treatments. Rarely, assisted hatching can damage the embryo, making it unusable. The risk for identical twins might be slightly increased when assisted hatching is applied. Medical complications are higher in identical twin pregnancies than in normal, singleton pregnancies.