Assisted hatching (AH) is initially developed to provide an artificial manipulation of the zona pellucida (ZP) to help embryos hatch and improve the capacity of the embryos to implant. However, these effects remain unclear and controversial because of variation in patient characteristics, and it is critical to ascertain the indications for AH and to identify those patients who might benefit from AH. Here, this study aimed to assess the effect of laser-assisted zona thinning hatching technology (LAH) during the frozen-thawed D3 embryos on pregnancy outcomes in patients with previous repeated failures in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer (IVF-ET). To the best of our knowledge, these relationships have not been previously investigated. A retrospective cohort analysis was carried out. Infertility patients with previous repeated failure who underwent assisted reproductive therapy at our in vitro fertilization (IVF) center from May 2014 to May 2016 were enrolled. A total of 415 cleavage FET cycles (225 in the LAH group and 190 in the control group) were analyzed. Clinical outcomes including clinical pregnancy, implantation, live birth, miscarriage, and multiple gestation rates after transfer were compared between the LAH and control groups. The clinical pregnancy (49.3% versus 38.9%) and implantation rates (31.2% versus 24.6%) were significantly higher for the LAH group than the control group (P < 0.05). The live birth (44.8% versus 35.8%), multiple pregnancy (32.4% versus 31.0%), preterm birth (22.8% versus 17.1%), miscarriage (7.2% versus 5.4%), and ectopic rates (1.9% versus 0%) did not differ significantly between the two groups (P > 0.05). This study showed that LAH via zona pellucida (ZP) thinning significantly improves clinical outcomes, particularly clinical pregnancy and implantation rates, associated with FET cycles among patients with previous repeated failure.
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The authors are very grateful to all personnel of the Reproductive Medical Centre of Zhongshan Hospital.
XML carried out diagnosis, ovarian stimulation and oocytes collection. XML and YBL participated in embryo culture, vitrification and warming. YBL and XC participated in the laser-assisted hatching procedure. YBL and XML contributed to data collection and statistical analysis. XML, YBL, and SYL contributed to manuscript writing as well as to interpretation of the results. SYL participated in the design of the study and performed part of the statistical analysis. XD contributed to guideline of this study, and participated in its design and critical revision of the manuscript. All authors participated in the data collection and read approved the final manuscript.
This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant No. 31601197), and the project sponsored by Program for Young Excellent Talents in Tongji University (grant No. 2016KJ049).
Compliance with ethical standards
Ethics approval and consent to participate
This study was approved by the ethics committee of Zhongshan Hospital. Informed consent has been obtained.
Consent for publication
The authors declare that they have no conflict interests.
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