Embryo transfer techniques can be used very effectively alongside genomics. If you can identify your best heifers by genomic testing, collect embryos from them, and implant them into your worst genomic heifers, your herd genetics can improve even more rapidly than via genomics or advanced breeding alone.
There are two collection techniques that can be used:
This is what you may know as a conventional embryo flush. This procedure involves a 5-week superovulation program, resulting in several eggs being released from the donor, as opposed to one during a natural heat. The animal is inseminated and embryos are then flushed from the donor’s uterus the following week.
This non-surgical procedure involves placing a catheter through the cervix and into the uterus, where a cuff is inflated and fluid is flushed in and out to collect the embryos from each horn.
This can all be done on farm. An average flush would produce 6 embryos and those embryos could either be transferred fresh or be frozen and stored for implantation into recipient heifers in the future.
The second option is a much newer technique and is only available through a handful of practices in the country, of which we are one.
In this case only the eggs are removed from the donor and the fertilisation takes place in a laboratory rather than inside the animal. The donor has to come to us for the OPU session as everything has to be heat controlled. Under epidural, an ultrasound probe is placed into the vagina along with a needle and guide, so that eggs can be taken from ovarian follicles and collected into a test tube.
It is also non-surgical, but can be a superior alternative to conventional embryo flushing in heifers as you can collect from juvenile animals.
Come along to hear more about Improving the Genetic Potential of our your herd:-
8th March (near Lifton) and 22nd March (near Thelbridge).
These evening meetings will start at 7pm, call to reserve your place 01363 772860
Read more event details here.