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RFD is the official journal of the International Embryo Transfer Society and the Society for Reproductive Biology.


Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 17(2)


B. Peachey A, K. Hartwich A, K. Cockrem B, A. Marsh B, A. Pugh B, J. van Wagtendonk B, W. Lindemans C

A Animal Breeding Services Ltd, 3680 Hamilton, New Zealand
B Livestock Improvement Corporation, 3016 Hamilton, New Zealand
C Cryologic Pty Ltd, Mulgrave, Victoria 3170, Australia. Email: apugh@abreeds.co.nz
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Vitrification has become the method of choice for the preservation of in vitro derived embryos of a number of species, and several methods of vitrification have been developed. One such method, the cryoLogic vitrification method (CVM) yields high survival rates of warmed embryos (Lindemans W et al. 2004 Reprod. Fertil. Dev. 16, 174 abst). In this study, the post-warm viability of bovine IVP embryos following either vitrification using CVM or slow freezing using ethylene glycol (EG) was compared. In addition, the survival of embryos following triple transfer to synchronized recipients was measured and the embryo (“e”) and recipient (“r”) contributions to embryo survival was determined using the “er” model for embryo survival (McMillan WH et al. 1998 Theriogenology 50, 1053–1070). Bovine IVP methods were those of van Wagtendonk et al. 2004 Reprod. Fertil. Dev. 16, 214 (abst). On day 7 of culture (Day 0 = IVF), Grade 1 and 2 embryos that had reached at least the late morula stage were selected for vitrification (20% DMSO, 20% ethylene glycol) or freezing in 1.5 M ethylene glycol + 0.1 M sucrose (0.5°C/min to -35°C). Following storage in LN2 for at least 24 h the embryos were thawed, the cryoprotectant removed, and the embryos cultured for 72 h in mSOF medium under 5% CO2, 7% O2, 88% N2. The number of hatching embryos was recorded at 24-h intervals. In addition, blastocyst and expanded blastocyst embryos were thawed and immediately transferred nonsurgically to recipients (three embryos of the same grade to each recipient) on Day 7 of a synchronized cycle (Day 0 = heat). The recipients were ultrasound-scanned for the presence of, and number of, fetuses on Days 35 and 62, respectively. The in vitro assessment of 148 CVM and 230 EG frozen embryos indicated that more vitrified than EG embryos hatched by 72 h (73% vs. 62%; CVM vs. EG, χ2 = 4.5, P < 0.05). Overall, more Grade 1 embryos hatched than Grade 2 (74% vs. 60%, χ2 = 7.2, P < 0.01). CVM embryos (105) were triple-transferred to 35 recipients, and EG embryos (30) were triple-transferred to 10 recipients. Recipient pregnancy rates at Day 62 were 80% and 70%, respectively. Overall embryo survival was 38.5% (41% for CVM and 30% for EG). The overall calculated “e” and “r” values were 0.39 and 1.0 (“e”: 0.42 and 1.0, and “r”: 0.31 and 1.0, respectively, CVM and EG groups). Survival rates of CVM embryos to Day 62 (41%) were slightly lower than that previously obtained for fresh embryos produced using an identical IVP procedure (44% – van Wagtendonk AM 2004).

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