OBJECTIVE: To evaluate efficacy of assisted hatching by laser (AHL) and acidified Tyrode solution (AHA) in selected groups of IVF-ET patients who have a poor prognosis. METHODS: From February 2006 to September 2006, total of 328 IVF-ET cycles with advanced female age (> or =38 years), recurrent implantation failure (> or =3 cycles), thick zona (> or =17 microgram), and/or poor quality of embryo were randomly divided into assisted hatching by acidified Tyrode solution (AHA, n=180) and the assisted hatching using the ZILOS-tk laser (AHL, n=148) groups. Clinical outcomes were analyzed and compared between AHA and AHL group based on the patient characteristics. RESULTS: In all AHL and AHA group, there were no significant differences in pregnancy (42.6%, 63/148 vs. 33.3%, 60/180) and implantation rates (17.4%, 82/470 vs. 16.0%, 89/556) However, in advanced female age group (Group 1), pregnancy (37.0%, 20/54 vs. 18.7%, 14/75) and implantation rates (14.4%, 23/160 vs. 7.1%, 15/210) in AHL group were significantly (p<0.05) higher than those of AHA, although there was no difference in patient parameters of both groups. And, the clinical outcome of groups with recurrent implantation failure (Group 2), thick zona pellucida (Group 3) and poor quality embryo (Group 4) were improved in AHL compared to those of AHA: 43.8% (21/48) and 31.6% (25/79) in Group 2, 43.8% (32/73) and 34.1% (28/82) in Group 3, 25.0% (7/28) and 14.6% (6/41) in Group 4, but no significance. CONCLUSION: The AHL improved the pregnancy and implantation rates in patients with advanced female age and recurrent implantation failure when compared to outcomes achieved from AHA. Therefore, this AHL technique may be a efficient and safe method for patients with poor prognosis.