The efficacy and safety of zona pellucida drilling by a 193-nm excimer laser

N. Laufer, D. Palanker, Y. Shufaro, A. Safran, A. Simon, A. Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To examine the efficiency of argon fluoride excimer laser drilling of the zona pellucida of mouse oocytes in improving in vitro fertilization (IVF) at low sperm concentrations and to assess its safety. Design: Oocytes obtained from (Balb/c x C57BL6)CB6F1 female mice were drilled by laser and divided into two groups: group I (89 oocytes) were inseminated with 105 sperm cells/mL, and group II (94 oocytes) were inseminated with 106 sperm cells/mL. Both groups' fertilization rate and development in vitro was compared with control oocytes that underwent the same preparation steps but no drilling (94 and 88 oocytes for group I and group II, respectively). Main Outcome Measures: The fertilization rate and the development in vitro of the laser-drilled groups is compared with that of the control. In addition, in vivo development of embryos generated from laser-drilled oocytes after transfer to pseudopregnant recipients is assessed. Results: For both sperm concentrations, laser drilling significantly enhanced fertilization over control (67% versus 31% at 105 sperm cells/mL and 90% versus 54% at 106 sperm cells/mL). The development into the blastocyst stage after 96 hours of incubation was similar for both the laser-drilled and control groups at any sperm cell concentration. However, complete hatching at this point was significantly enhanced by the drilling procedure. Normal litters were obtained from the transfer of embryos developed from zona-drilled oocytes into pseudopregnant recipients. Conclusions: Excimer laser drilling enhanced IVF at low sperm cell concentration. The procedure is safe and did not interfere with embryo development in vitro or in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)889-895
Number of pages7
JournalFertility and Sterility
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • excimer laser
  • in vitro fertilization
  • laser drilling
  • Micromanipulation
  • mouse oocytes
  • zone drilling


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