Log in
Fertility Network UK
15,026 members24,914 posts

Anyone heard of 'Assisted Hatching' or problems when the embryo won't hatch please?

Hi all,

ICSI failed for us a few weeks ago. I didn't have any bleed during the 2ww just some cramping. When we attended our review meeting as to why it didn't happen they said there was a 'darkened zona' and the outside of the egg was tough when they injected it for ICSI. Even though we had a perfect 4 cell transfer on day 2, I wonder if that means the embryo couldn't hatch? Has anyone else experienced this or heard of anything similar? I was looking at a private website and it mentioned 'Assisted Hatching' but our clinic has said that would not work for ICSI as the embryo is already weakened by the needle anyhow. I have been advised to go for egg donors or give up, and I'm not ready to do that just yet. We've been through so much over the years. Does anyone have any ideas why our little one didn't hatch or what we could do next time? So confused and upset.

8 Replies

So sorry to hear that ICSI didn't work. Our first cycle of ICSI failed and the clinic were not able to offer any explanation as to why it didn't work, apart from IVF/ICSI has a maximum success rate of 25%. We had 2 good quality embryos and both were implanted but it didn't work.

Today was egg collection and there were only 2 eggs, again the nurse couldn't give any reason why this time I produced such a low number, last time they got 13.

It seems like assisted conception is like a lottery. Even if every stage goes right the result isn't assured. It's unfair.

I haven't heard of Assisted Hatching.

Have the clinic given you an idea of what the success rate might be if you use donor eggs? Now might not be the best time to make any big decisions.

Sending you my best wishes.


Hi Pm27

Sorry for my slow reply. We don't seem to get much of an explanation do we, and maybe there isn't one. It's just so sad that we can't 'learn from experience/ outcome'. I am so surprised by the difference in your number of eggs on the different egg collections. I would have expected much the same, the second time round. It truly is like a lottery, and as you said... even if every stage goes right the result isn't assured. That is so difficult to deal with and SO unfair.

The clinic are very much again me having another go to have my own biological child, and have said my chances are even lower based on what they've seen this time 3%. They kept pushing for donor eggs all the way through the meeting, saying my chance would then be 50%. We would both very much like to have our own child. I'm trying to get my head around donor eggs and I think people are giving such a wonderful gift of possible life, but deep down I would like our own first. We are going to give ICSI another go when we can afford it. Many thanks for your kind reply. I do hope things are going well for you. Keeping my fingers and everything crossed for you. x


I understand your desire to have your biological child.

Do your clinic offer counselling? It might be worth talking donor eggs through with the counsellor.

It's a very tough decision but only you and your other half can make it.

I wish you all the best.


We had ICSI with assisted hatching on the NHS. I think it's what our clinic does as standard, although maybe only for older women. I've got pregnant both times we've had this but had a miscarraige the first time and it's too early to say for the second time.


Thanks for your reply Wuezy. I'd never heard of it before - until it was too late. I am an 'older woman' therefore I think I fit into the category. My clinic seems to think that ICSI should be enough, but when you have a perfect little embryo you want it to hatch as well. I think it's wonderful that it is offered at your clinic as standard. I am so sorry to hear of your first miscarriage. I am keeping everything crossed for you this time round. Wishing you all the best. x


Sorry it didn't work for you. Assisted hatching means they put a little hole in the egg shell making it easier to break out after the blastocyst stage. Which is what they do to a certain extent with ICSI to get the sperm in there. There are a lot of reasons an embryo doesn't stick. We've had several perfect embryos transferred over the years, but for whatever reason, they didn't stick. how do you know the embryo couldn't hatch?


Hi Filmgirl

Sorry for such a slow reply. I don't know for definite what happened - the embryo may have 'not stuck' although we paid extra for embryo glue and the clinic didn't think this was the case. They said the embryo's had a darkened zona and were tough when they injected them, hence they may not have hatched. I understand ICSI is similar to Hatching, by them making an initial hole in the egg, but I though assisted hatching took place later just before it was transferred. I would have paid anything to get our little emby to hatch... if that was the case. Thanks for your reply. I guess most of us will never really know, and I am beginning to read a lot of posts who sound 'wow' and then turn out negative. We're going to give it another go, but I just want to give us both the best possible chance and try and learn from last time. Thank you so much for your kind words, your understanding and replies. I really appreciate it. It's so lovely to know there are others out there that understand what you are going through and can advise. Will keep you posted. x


Hi Music1 So sorry your cycle wasnt successful for you and you have been left with many questions unanswered - this is one of the worst things (after a BFN) :-( A couple of suggestions: you could have a look at the Donor Conception Network website. I hope you dont mind me sharing my story - we did DEICSI in Spain and the 2nd cycle was successful at 46! Our daughter is now 4 and people who dont know our story even say she looks like me & she is a mini me in many ways! I dont have any other children but I cant imagine loving her more than if she had come from my egg. The 2nd suggestion for finding our more about assisted hatching and your own situation - you can email Prof Winston at Genesis Research Trust & he personally answers your question. I dont know how you feel about him (I get the feeling he's a bit like marmite!) but I'm sure he would give you an unbiased answer. The do ask for a donation but it is up to you. Best wishes for a happy future for you xx


You may also like...