Is a hatching blastocyst a good sign?

5 fertility expert(s) answered this question

Answer from: Raúl Olivares, MD

Gynaecologist, Medical Director & Owner
Barcelona IVF

Generally, yes, hatching means that the embryo is doing homework, let’s say it like that, and that is trying to go out from the zona pellucida to implant. However, as it happens quite often in medicine, the hatching must take place at the right time. If the embryo doesn’t hatch too early, that’s may not be a sign of a good prognosis.

When do we expect the embryos to do the hatching? Usually, between day 5 and day 6, that’s when most of the embryos start doing that. How do we classify embryos when they are doing the hatching? That depends on if they have started the hatching, then the blastocyst will be graded as 4. If half of the embryo has already done the hatching, the blastocyst will be graded as a 5, or when the embryo has completely finished the hatching, it will be graded as a 6.

Answer from: Andrew Thomson, FRCPath

Embryologist, Consultant Clinical Embryologist & Laboratory Manager
Centre for Reproduction and Gynaecology Wales (CRGW)

Hatching blastocysts is a good sign. So from your egg collection, we collect your eggs and what happens is your eggs are surrounded by a hard shell which controls the sperm entry into it and the various fertilization after that stage. The egg is that shell is essentially defunct and it just holds the embryo together for the first few days. As the embryo carries on developing, the pressure in that embryo starts to build and to actually implant into your endometrium that embryo has to start breaking through that shell that’s behind from your egg and that’s what we call hatching and it needs to fully hatch and fully leave that egg before it’s ready to implant into your endometrium.

Answer from: George Koustas, DR

Embryologist, Director of Embryology and Quality Manager
Agora Clinic

Hatching is simply the process of the pre-implantation embryo trying to escape from the protective cell that the embryo has -which is called zona pellucida – in order for the embryo to implant at the lining of the womb. It takes around one to two days to be completed therefore embryos with signs of hatching meaning having a tiny bubble of cells trying to escape the day of the embryo assessment it’s a it’s a very good sign.

Answer from: Raquel Arévalo Jiménez, Biologist with a Master degree in Human Fertility

Embryologist, Junior Embriologist
ReproMed Ireland

When the embryo starts to develop it is inside a layer that is called zona pellucida and when the embryo has to implant, it’s necessary that the embryo starts to go out of the layer because it helps the embryo to implant into the uterus. So when we have embryo that is starting to hatch or that is fully hatched, it’s a very very good sign because it’s more sticky than if it’s inside the layers so it helps the the embryo to implant and once it’s implanted into the uterus, it’s easy to start developing. So it’s true that if the embryo is not hatching, it can hatch inside the uterus but if we have the embryo already hatched or hatching in the lab and we transferred this embryo, it also has very good outcomes and it’s a sign of very good quality of the embryo because the embryo has the ability to break naturally this zona pellucida and to start going out. So this is a very good sign for embryo development. That means that the embryo hasn’t stopped development and it’s going to continue developing inside the uterus. So it helps the implantation and also it will help to have a positive result in the blood test confirming the pregnancy but we never have to forget that it’s not a guarantee of 100% of success because we have other things that can affect this implantation. So it’s true that’s a very good sign but we don’t have to forget that there are other other factors, like the endometrial reception has to be adequate and all the other things that can affect but to have embryo hatching is a very very good sign and it means that the embryo has very good quality.

Answer from: Zane Vitina, MD

Gynaecologist, CEO
EGV Clinic

While the embryo develops, it is surrounded by cells that make a natural shield, it is called zona pellucida. When it grows, it breaks out naturally. This process is called hatching.

We can help with it by making a hole in the zona pellucida. It is indicated in several situations, such as if the lady is over 37 years of age, or if the embryo quality is not good enough, or the zona is thicker than usual. Sometimes, if the embryo is thawed before vitrification, and we need vitrification of blastocyst. Also, if there is a partner’s male factor and in situations when the previous implantations failed.

About this question:

What is hatching blastocyst and how it may influence embryo grading?

What does it mean when your embryo is hatching? How quickly does a hatched blastocyst implant? Do hatching embryos implant sooner? 
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