The egg cell and embryo are surrounded by a thin cell shell. On the sixth day after fertilisation, the embryo leaves the shell and tries to implant into the uterus. Depending on the age of the woman, endometriosis or other diseases, this shell can be hardened so the embryo cannot ‘hatch’. Therefore, it remains trapped in the shell and the implantation cannot take place, so pregnancy does not occur.
Using laser technology, the shell can be lightly seared under the microscope (up to roughly the middle) to help the embryo hatch. This process is called assisted hatching and it is routinely used on embryos in our Kinderwunsch Institut in Linz as required.