The collection of extra numbers of bovine embryos by superstimulation of donors underlies variation concerning yield of morulae and blastocysts. Our study aimed at establishing a correlation between hormonal treatment and embryo development during oviductal passage including repeated flushing. A transvaginal endoscopic procedure was used to flush the oviducts at six different time intervals (beginning at 24 h until 105 h) after artificial insemination. In total, 119 animals were superovulated using either FSH or eCG. The hormonal treatment resulted in the stimulation of 2076 follicles of which 77% (1590 CL) ovulated. The bilateral flushing resulted in the collection of 1411 complexes (collection rate: 89%), of which 78% (1098) were assessed as viable embryos. The use of FSH resulted in significantly more stimulated follicles and ovulation sites compared with eCG (p < 0.001). Generally, the embryo kinetics were similar among the FSH and eCG treated animals. However, the embryo cleavage of the eCG treated animals was ahead of that of the FSH group comparing the different collection time points. The overall proportions of non-viable embryos in both groups were similar. Regarding the embryo collection intervals in the eCG group, this proportion significantly increased during 51-105 h compared to 24-50 h (p < 0.05), whereas FSH delivered constant results. It was shown that the repeated endoscopic collection of oviductal stage embryos had no negative influence on the collection parameters. It is concluded that the introduced transvaginal endoscopic technique could have main impact on further studies focusing on early embryo development.
Animals Blastocyst Cattle/embryology* Chorionic Gonadotropin/pharmacology* Embryo Culture Techniques/veterinary Embryo Transfer/veterinary Embryo, Mammalian/drug effects Embryo, Mammalian/physiology Endoscopy/methods Endoscopy/veterinary Female Follicle Stimulating Hormone/pharmacology* Insemination, Artificial/veterinary Pregnancy Superovulation/drug effects* Time Factors Tissue and Organ Harvesting/methods Tissue and Organ Harvesting/veterinary*