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In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)

Why use IVF?

VF (In Vitro Fertilisation) technology has been used in livestock for many years, but in recent times, the use of IVF is growing. Livestock breeders can gain benefits in genetic improvement which are similar to ET systems. That is, breeders are able to maximise the genetic gain from the dam whilst using their sire of choice.

The process of IVF relies on the extraction of the oocyte (unfertilised egg) from the ovary of the donor female, which is then matured, fertilised and cultured in vitro (in the lab). This differs to ET systems as the process occurs all within the donor female prior to flushing. In IVF, as oocytes are directly retrieved from the ovary of the donor female, more oocytes can be collected sometimes resulting in more embryos produced than in ET. Nevertheless, pregnancy rates are generally lower than ET programs and hence, don’t always result in more calves born.

IVF can be the technology of choice for some livestock breeders. Generally IVF is selected over ET when the females are poor responders to superovulation treatments. This may be due to breed, a reproductive disorder, age of the female or for an undiagnosed reason.

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