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Type of publication: Journal Article
Type of document: Full Paper

Year: 1997

Authors: Besenfelder, U; Mödl, J; Müller, M; Brem, G

Title: Endoscopic embryo collection and embryo transfer into the oviduct and the uterus of pigs.

Source: Theriogenology (47), 5 1051-1060.

Authors Vetmeduni Vienna:

Besenfelder Urban
Brem Gottfried
Müller Mathias

Vetmed Research Units
Institute of Animal Breeding and Genetics

We describe the first complete embryo transfer program, including flushing of embryos from the oviducts via the uterine horns, transfer of embryos into the Fallopian tubes or the uterine horns and recording of the number of piglets born live. The described procedure is minimally invasive and allows the use of pigs simultaneously for embryo collection and production of normal pregnancies. A 30 degrees forward oblique endoscope provided optimal visualization of the reproductive organs and free access to the organs for embryo flushing and transfer. In contrast to surgical and nonsurgical methods, endoscopy allows to pre-examine the genital tract for reproductive abnormalities and successful ovulation. A total of 95 prepuberal gilts or cyclic sows were used in this trial. Embryos or oocytes were collected from hormonally treated pigs via endoscopy(n = 17) on Day 3 and via laparotomy or post mortem after slaughter (control group, n = 38) on Day 3 and 6 after insemination. One (unilateral collection, n = 7) or both oviducts (bilateral collection, n = 10) were flushed endoscopically. We recovered 114 (average 16/pig) and 279 (average 28/pig) oocytes or embryos with fertilization rates of 89% and 72%, respectively. In the control group 834 oocytes or embryos were collected at Day 3 and 6 after insemination (fertilization rate 64%, total 534 embryos, 33 at 2-, 367 at 4-, 2 at 8-cell stage, 24 morulae and 108 blastocysts). Of 836 embryos recovered by endoscopy, surgery or slaughter 528 Day 3 embryos at 2- to 4-cell stage were transferred into (one) oviducts (n = 27 pigs, about 20/pig) resulting in 9 pregnant pigs diagnosed at Day 28 by sonography. Of the 9, 8 carried a total of 49 piglets to term. A total of 195 Day 6 embryos were transferred into uterine horns (n = 12 pigs, about 16/pig), resulting in 5 pregnant pigs carrying a total of 38 offspring to term. The use of endoscopy in assisted reproduction of pigs has the advantages of allowing easy access to the ovary, oviduct and uterus, clear view of the organ manipulation without exposure and exteriorization of viscera during surgery.

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