A NEW in-vitro embryo production (IVP) procedure has been developed and is now available to UK breeders from breeding technology company, Animal Breeding Europe. 

Designed to replace the traditional multiple ovulation and embryo transfer (MOET) technique, the new IVP server was developed and proven in New Zealand where more than 4000 embryos are transferred annually.

Taking roughly 15 minutes per donor, the process combines donor oocyte (egg) collection, maturation and fertilisation, followed by a culture period before the subsequent embryos are either transferred of frozen. The collection can be carried out on farm by AB Europe, minimising stress, before the culture process follows on in the company’s new £100,000 laboratory based near Edinburgh. 

“IVP delivers all the benefits of MOET in enabling cattle breeders to exploit the value of their high genetic merit animals, however it has many more advantages which in turn result in IVP being a more cost effective and welfare friendly service,” said AB Europe vet, Gavin Tait. “IVP accelerates embryo production from donor cows, while pregnancy hold rates for both fresh and frozen embryos is relatively similar for both techniques.” 

It is expected this process will accelerate embryo productions and ultimately increase genetic gain, and has already been taken up by several pedigree herds in Scotland - Gareth Ward, of Westridge Simmentals, near Carnwath, Lanark; the Thomson family, that runs the Tynet herd of Aberdeen-Angus, near Clochan, Buckie; the Wolfstar herd of Simmentals, belonging to Alex and Ross King, Ormiston, East Lothian; and the Green family’s Corskie Simmental herd, at Fochabers, Moray.