This study was conducted to establish a new approach for in vivo culture of in vitro produced embryos in the bovine oviduct by transvaginal endoscopy. Embryos were in vitro matured, fertilized and cultured for 1-4 days and assigned to groups consisting of 10-30 embryos. Embryos were transferred unilaterally into oviducts of 24 heifers by the means of transvaginal endoscopy. After 3-6 days of in vivo incubation embryos were re-collected. Experiment I aimed to evaluate the capability of embryos to migrate to the uterus. The uterine horns of four animals were flushed first, followed by a combined flushing of both oviducts and uterine horns resulting in collection rates of 31 and 34%, respectively. In experiment II, the transfer of embryos into the oviduct close to ovulation (day 1-2--experiment IIA) or at a more advanced cyclic stage (day 3--experiment IIB) succeeded in the collection of 46 and 34% of the transferred complexes, of which 13 and 37% showed the blastocyst stage. This is the first report of successful recovery of transferable blastocysts by transvaginal endoscopy after tubal in vivo culture in the homologous species of originally in vitro produced embryos.
Animals Cattle/embryology* Culdoscopy/methods Culdoscopy/veterinary* Embryo Culture Techniques/methods Embryo Culture Techniques/veterinary Embryo Transfer/instrumentation* Fallopian Tubes/physiology* Female Fertilization in Vitro/methods Fertilization in Vitro/veterinary Ovulation Tissue and Organ Harvesting/veterinary* Vagina