Steps of Bovine In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
Ever wondered about the technique of in-vitro fertilization (IVF)? Wondered how it can be incorporated into your cattle operation? If you currently use frozen embryo transfer, you may already be using an IVF embryo. For this post, we are going to break down the IVF process in beef cattle reproduction, specifically for embryo transfer.
- Ovum Pick-Up (OPU):The process begins with Ovum Pick-Up, where mature oocytes (egg cells) are collected from the ovaries of the donor cow. This procedure is typically performed using ultrasound-guided aspiration.
- Oocyte Maturation:The collected oocytes are then cultured in a controlled environment to allow them to mature fully. This maturation process typically takes around 24 to 30 hours.
- Semen Collection and Processing:High-quality bull semen is collected and processed to isolate viable sperm cells. The semen is evaluated for motility, concentration, and morphology.
- In Vitro Fertilization:Once the oocytes are mature, they are fertilized in the laboratory by introducing the prepared sperm cells. This is done through direct insemination into the petri dish and incubation of the embryo.
- Incubation and Culture:After fertilization, the oocytes are incubated in a suitable culture medium that supports their development. The embryos are allowed to develop for a certain period, usually around 7 days. This step mainly requires equipment and the proper environment.
- Embryo Evaluation & Shipping:During the incubation period, the developing embryos are periodically evaluated for their quality and developmental stage. Embryos that show proper development and quality are selected for transfer.
- Embryo Transfer:Once the desired stage of embryo development is reached, selected embryos are transferred into recipient cows. This transfer is often done non-surgically, guided by ultrasound, and involves placing the embryos into the cow's uterus.
It's important to note that while these are the general steps of IVF in cattle, the exact procedures and protocols may vary depending on the specific techniques and equipment used by different laboratories and breeding programs. The International Embryo Technology School trains students in state-of-the-art research-based embryo handling, laboratory skills, and palpation techniques to result in the best outcomes for your breeding program.