What is embryo transfer?
Embryo transfer is an advanced reproductive technology which allows clients to multiply the success of genetically superior animals in the herd. Conventional (in vivo) embryo collection consists of super stimulating donor females with follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) which causes multiple follicles to ovulate, this is followed by artificially inseminating (AI) the donor female and then a week later collecting or 'flushing' the embryos from the uterus. Those embryos are then either freshly transferred into recipient females or frozen under liquid nitrogen, the embryo can stay frozen until they are ready to be thawed and implanted.
embryo transfer Process
Select your donor female
Donor super stimulation
Breeding of donor either by AI or natural service
After 7 days the donor is flushed to retrieve the embryos
Viable embryos are either freshly implanted into a recipient female or frozen
Why embryo transfer?
With conventional embryo collection producers are able to optimize their best genetics. Producers can market these genetics through embryo sales or use them to improve the genetic advancement rate in their own herd. Many producers also enjoy incorporating outside genetics from other herds by purchasing embryos from other producers.
How often can oocytes be collected?Oocytes can be collected every two weeks and this is one of the main advantages of IVF as cows can be collected more rapidly to improve genetic genes.
What results can be expected with each IVF?An average mature breed cow will give 18 oocytes which should translate into roughly 5 freezable quality embryos. Beef heifers will vary more in their oocyte numbers and embryo development rates. However, typically we will see 30-40% of oocytes develop into freezable quality embryos.
What donor females make good candidates for IVF?Similar to conventional embryo production highly fertile cows will still produce better in an IVF scenario. Donor selection criteria such as age, parity, fertile history and nutritional status are essential in choosing proper candidates for IVF. However, cow that do not perform well in a conventional flush should still perform well in an IVF.
How young can heifers be IVF'd?Heifers can be collected as early as 8 months, but for best results it is common to wait until they’ve had their own natural heat cycle prior to collection.
What are grade 2 IVF embryos?According to IETS grading standards a Grade 2 IVF embryo would have a similar classification to a Grade 1 (excellent) conventional embryo. Pregnancy rates between Grade 1 and Grade 2 IVF embryo are very similar.