Embryo Transfer and Flushing

What is Embryo Transfer?

Embryo Transfer (ET) involves implanting a fertilised embryo into a suitable recipient cow or heifer. The process is similar to AI but the embryo is implanted further into the womb and the recipient is at a different stage of her cycle when we implant an embryo.

Using embryo transfer can help to speed up the genetic improvement in your herd and can allow you to introduce new genetics into your herd much more quickly than traditional methods.

What is Embryo Transfer?

Embryo Transfer (ET) involves implanting a fertilised embryo into a suitable recipient cow or heifer. The process is similar to AI but the embryo is implanted further into the womb and the recipient is at a different stage of her cycle when we implant an embryo.

Using embryo transfer can help to speed up the genetic improvement in your herd and can allow you to introduce new genetics into your herd much more quickly than traditional methods.

Where can you source embryos?

Embryos can be bought from pedigree breeders or breed societies and are stored deep frozen in liquid nitrogen similar to semen for AI. They can also be implanted fresh on farm following successful flushing of a donor cow or heifer. Because of the regulations around bovine embryos they must be stored in a licensed facility and in their own dedicated tank. This facility is available at Northvet.

Flushing involves the removal of fertilised embryos from the womb of a donor cow. The donor cow is given a course of injections to super-ovulate her and cause her to produce more eggs from her ovaries than in a normal cycle.

The donor is then served either by AI or natural service several times to ensure the eggs are fertilised. One week later the fertilised embryos are flushed from the donors womb and collected in a special container. Under a microscope they can then be assessed for their quality and manipulated into straws before being implanted fresh into suitable recipient animals or stored in liquid nitrogen until required.

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