Rolleston Veterinary Services conveniently offers embryo transfer as either an on-farm or at-clinic service to our clients. With years of experience in the field, RVS has the capability and expertise to provide any ET services you may need or desire for your flock or herd.
What is Small Ruminant Embryo Transfer?
Embryo Transfer (ET) is an advanced reproductive technique that allows sheep and goat producers to enormously extend the genetic influence of elite animals in a flock or herd.
How many embryos can a donor produce?
An embryo collection can potentially be performed on a donor ewe or doe every 30 days during breeding season. The number of transferable embryos retrieved per flush can greatly vary with some flushes resulting in no viable embryos and other flushes yielding more than thirty transferable embryos.
How do you set up a donor for ET?
Small ruminant embryo transfer involves specific timed hormonal treatment using follicle stimulating hormone, FSH, of a donor ewe or doe to promote the ovulation of numerous follicles. This process is known as superovulation. RVS will provide you with a tailored schedule detailing every step you need to take to successfully prepare your donor for her flush date.
At signs of estrus (or standing heat), the donor/s is then bred using artificial insemination. The eggs produced during ovulation are now fertilized and are left to maturate in the donor’s reproductive tract for several days.
How are the embryos retrieved from the donor?
On approximately day seven after insemination, the donor is sedated under general anesthesia and embryos are surgically collected, or “flushed”, from the donor’s uterus via catheterization at the utero- tubal junction. Each uterine horn is flushed using a sterile flush solution to recover the embryos which are located in the upper third of each horn. The embryos are safely procured using a filtration system and immediately brought to a laboratory for inspection and manipulation.
What happens to the embryos once they are collected?
Once the embryos have been inspected under a microscope and deemed viable, they then may either be transferred directly into recipients (who serve as surrogates) or the fresh embryos are frozen to be thawed and transferred into synced recipients at a later date.
Note that recipients must be synchronized, via natural cycle detection or artificial hormonal treatment, and approximately seven days post estrus in order to achieve a viable transfer resulting in pregnancy.
If/when the embryos are frozen, they are safely stored in liquid nitrogen storage tanks until a client is ready to transfer them into viable recipient females. Clients may store their embryos in their personal tank on- farm or RVS is happy to safely secure them at its highly monitored storage facility.
Can frozen embryos be shipped internationally?
As required by the International Embryo Transfer Society, all frozen embryos are to be marked and handled with a specific standard to which RVS is accustom. This enables us to ship your embryos to other livestock producers within the United States. We can export them to international producers, as well. Rolleston Veterinary Services is also certified by the American Embryo Transfer Association.