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IVF is the process of harvesting unfertilized oocytes directly from the ovaries of a donor cow or heifer. These recovered oocytes are then fertilized with semen in a petri dish one day after aspiration and develop in an incubator to become embryos 7 days after fertilization.


Oocytes are first collected from the ovaries by ultrasound-guided follicular aspiration. The oocytes are then matured for 24 hours and then fertilized in a petri dish. After fertilzation the embryos are incubated for 7 days during which embryonic development takes place. After the 7 days the resulting viable embryos are then transferred into recipients or frozen.


There are several reasons which make IVF advantageous compared to conventional flushing including:

  • Potential to obtain embryos from donors that do not respond to conventional flushing.

  • Collection from donors can occur every two weeks.

  • Pregnant donors can be collected from up to 90-150 days pregnant.

  • Can collect heifers before or after breeding which allows breeders to accelerate genetic improvement.

  • Can use only one straw of semen on multiple donors.

  • How many days postpartum do I have to wait to flush my donor?
    Donor should be a minimum of 60 days postpartum on flush day. Cows should have received all pre breeding vaccinations a minimum of 30 days prior to collection. All donor animals should be on a rising plane of nutrition in the postpartum period.
  • How often can my donor be flushed?
    Donors can be flushed every 30-35 depending on their post flush heat, however if time is not a factor we will typically schedule donors every 45 days.
  • How many embryos on average do you get from conventional flushing?
    In our facility we are averaging 6.4 grade 1 freezable quality embryos per beef donor. Results can vary depending on individual cows performance ability as some cows may give zero freezable embryos, and our current record is 42 Grade 1 freezable.
  • What is the conception rate of fresh and frozen conventional embryos?
    Typically we tell clients that your embryo conception rate should be roughly 5% lower than your farms AI conception rate. On frozen embryos a typical average is 50-55% and fresh embryos should be 5-10% higher at 60-65% conception rate.


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