Whilst at the Jensens, I was able to travel with their herdsman, Eddie Sandberg, to Trans Ova Genetics in Chillicothe, Missouri. We took a cow with us to have oocytes collected via In-Vitro Fertilization to make embryos. IVF involves harvesting oocytes (unfertilized eggs) from a donor cow’s ovaries before they are ovulated. The oocytes are then taken into the lab where they are counted, then placed inside an incubator that mimics the environment of a cow’s reproductive tract. Eighteen to twenty four hours later, the oocytes are fertilized. At this point, the client has the option to use semen conventionally, or choose to reverse sort the semen. Reverse sorting involves thawing a regular straw of semen, placing it on a specialised machine that sorts for male or female sperm via a laser beam. After the oocytes have been fertilised, they are placed back inside the incubator, and left there for 6 more days. When the embryos are 7 days old, they are either transferred fresh into recipient cows, or frozen in liquid nitrogen for later use. I saw several cows being done at Trans Ova, where they also do genetic preservation & cloning, embryo transfer & sex semen. It was great to be able to see first hand the IVF process and also talk about the pros and cons of the procedure with the technicians.
Trans Ova Genetics