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This is a process whereby a hole is made in the protective layer that surrounds the embryo known as the zona pellucida. Under normal circumstances the zona undergoes gradual thinning due to the expansion of the growing embryo and the increased pressure causes the zona to break and the embryo to hatch.

There is some evidence that embryos from older women may have thicker or harder zona thereby impeding the hatching process. It is possible that the same problem may occur in women with multiple IVF failures. Creating a hole in the zona using micro-manipulation techniques may therefore assist in overcoming this problem...