embryo transfer, beef cattle, ovulation, reproduction
Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering
Embryo transfer allows one or more fertilized eggs (embryos) to be transferred from a donor female to other cows (recipients or surrogate mothers) for subsequent development and birth. Generally, the embryo transfer calf remains with its surrogate mother through weaning. Persons with adequate training and experience can perform embryo transfer with a reasonably high success rate. However, due to its relatively high cost, the use of embryo transfer to date has been limited mostly to increasing the reproductive rate of valuable cows from seedstock herds and to research applications. Most beef cows produce only one calf per year and fewer than 10 calves in their lifetimes. By combining embryo transfer with the process of superovulation (increased ovulation rate via hormonal stimulation of ovarian follicles), some cows can yield 50 or more embryos per year.
Marshall, D. M. and Minyard, J. A., "Embryo Transfer in Beef Cattle" (2002). SDSU Extension Extra Archives. 37.