Dictionary TreatmentIn Vitro Fertilization (IVF)Hatching Blastocyst Hatching Blastocyst Reviewed by Ashley Wong, MS, Clinical Embryologist View our Editorial Policy Published: January 24, 2017 What Does Hatching Blastocyst Mean? A hatching blastocyst is a developing embryo (at around five days after fertilization) that is hatching out of its protective coating, known as the zona pellucida. A hatching blastocyst may also be known as a hatched blastocyst or a zona-free blastocyst when the process of hatching is complete. FertilitySmarts Explains Hatching Blastocyst There is a protective covering around an egg called the zona pellucida. This coating plays a role in fertilization, helps to contain cells in very early development, and allows a fertilized egg to successfully migrate through the fallopian tubes and into the uterus. As the fertilized egg divides and develops, it may become a blastocyst. One of the distinct features of a blastocyst is its fluid-filled cavity. This fluid plays a critical roll in helping the blastocyst the "hatch" from this protective coating through a series of expansion and contractions. The removal of the zona pellucida is a critical step that is necessary in order for the blastocyst to communicate and have cell-to-cell interaction with the uterine lining and eventually implant. A small study found that during in vitro fertilization (IVF), transferring spontaneously hatching or hatched blastocysts resulted in higher implantation and pregnancy rates than when using expanded blastocysts that had not yet hatched. Assisted Hatching A procedure called assisted hatching may be an option during IVF treatment to help the blastocyst hatch from the protective shell. Synonyms Hatched Blastocyst Zona-Free Blastocyst Share This Term> Related Terms Expanded Blastocyst Elective Single Embryo Transfer Day 3 Embryo Transfer Frozen Embryo Transfer Zona Pellucida Blastocyst Related Reading 14 Onesies that Celebrate IVF Babies IVF Pregnancy Announcements Fertility Podcasts Relatable Words After a Miscarriage Let’s Stop Arguing About Whether or Not Stress Causes Infertility Books About Infertility Tags Treatment In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Health Fetal Development Embryo Development Trending Articles Pregnancy IVF Pregnancy Announcements Egg Retrieval From Eggs to Blastocysts: Understanding IVF Attrition Cervical Mucus Identifying Stages of Cervical Mucus Artificial Insemination (AI) Implantation Calendar: What is Happening During the Two Week Wait?