Factors affecting the survival of sheep embryos after transfer within a MOET program

University of Wales, Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom
Theriogenology (Impact Factor: 1.8). 03/2003; 59(5-6):1265-75. DOI: 10.1016/S0093-691X(02)01162-7
Source: PubMed


Multiple ovulation and embryo transfer (MOET) has the potential to increase the rate of genetic improvement in sheep. However, better realization of this potential requires maximum survival rates of transferred embryos of high genetic merit after transfer into recipient ewes. These studies were therefore conducted to investigate the effect of both embryonic and recipient ewe factors on the survival rate of transferred embryos. Survival rate was similar after transfer of morula or blastocyst stage embryos, and these were higher (P<0.05) than for very early morulae and early morulae. Advanced embryos (Day 5 blastocyst) had an advantage (P<0.05) in survival rate over retarded embryos (Day 6 morula). Grades 1 and 2 embryos survived significantly (P<0.05) better than Grades 3 or 4 embryos. There was no difference in embryo survival rate following transfer to recipients with different numbers of corpora lutea. In general, age or parity of recipient ewes did not affect embryo survival rate, although a higher (P<0.05) embryo survival rate was observed for yearling recipients. Buserelin (GnRH agonist) treatment of recipient ewes 5 or 6 days after transfer of embryos (Day 12 of the cycle) did not improve embryo survival rate. These results confirm that both embryonic and recipient factors can play an important role in the success of a MOET program in sheep.

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