BOVINE IVF PROCESS
Streamlined and Effective
Oocyte pick-up (OPU), or egg collection, occurs on the farm. An ultrasound guided needle is inserted into the ovaries. The oocytes are removed from the ovaries with a vacuum pump and placed into vials. These vials are then transported back to the laboratory. Typically, anywhere between 10-20 oocytes are collected during one aspiration.
Once back at the lab, the oocytes are fertilized using semen from any commercially available bull. One straw of sexed semen can fertilize oocytes from 6 different donors, and a conventional unit can fertilize up to 20 donors. Sexed semen can be used to ensure that almost all (98%) of the embryos produced will be females.
Once fertilized, the embryos are moved to another media and placed into incubators to develop into blastocysts. Their progress is monitored over their 7 days of growth. Depending on semen type, oocyte quality and donor characteristics, anywhere from 20%-90% of the oocytes collected will turn into usable embryos.
If recipients are not available for fresh implants, embryos can be frozen for later use. The highest quality embryos are selected and then frozen in 1/4cc straws. Each embryo straw is labeled with all pertinent information according to IETS guidelines.
Embryos are implanted into recipient animals, 7 or 8 days after they have been in heat. This process is similar to artificial insemination, but the embryo needs to be implanted into one of the horns of the uterus.