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Gamete Res. 1989 Sep;24(1):67-80.

Blastocyst formation and hatching in vitro following zona drilling of mouse and human embryos.

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Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Medical School, Emory University, Atlanta.


Hatching in vitro was studied following zona drilling of 507 two-cell mouse embryos using three methods: 1) acidic Tyrode's (AT), 2) partial zona dissection (PZD) using a sharp microneedle, and 3) zona chiseling (CH), using a large beveled needle. PZD and CH were performed while the embryos were kept in a sucrose/PBS solution. Hatching was compared to 191 unmicromanipulated controls. The incidences of cavitation and completion of hatching did not differ between groups, however more micromanipulated embryos (20-25%) hatched partially than controls (9%). The zona pellucida thinned in 59/59 (100%) control blastocysts during expansion, but in only 3/205 (2%) micromanipulated blastocysts. The hatching gap was wide in all control embryos, but smaller in 96/129 (75%) micromanipulated embryos. Partially hatched blastocysts with a "figure-8" shape were found in 59/129 (46%) micromanipulated embryos and in none of the 39 hatching controls. Hatching usually occurred a day earlier in micromanipulated embryos as 214/218 (98%) had started extruding on day 5 as compared to 20/59 (27%) control blastocysts. Fifty percent of 1-day-old human oocytes were fertilized following PZD and reinsemination and 15/31 (48%) were monospermic. Thirteen monospermic embryos cleaved, six compacted and four cavitated--of these, three extruded through the PZD incision upon expansion. The zonae did not thin and one blastocyst twinned spontaneously as it was caught between the thick ridges of the PZD hole. Results indicate that the hatching process is abnormal following zona drilling; more embryos start hatching, extrusion occurs earlier, and many become trapped which may lead to artificial twinning or the formation of trophoblastic vesicles.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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