I was able to go and spend a couple of days with Chuck and Brian Hannon at Donor Solutions, an embryo transfer business. The first job was to semen test a young bull. The semen was collected and then put under a microscope to assess it. The microscope was connectetd to a TV screen so I could see what they were seeing and they could explain it to me. Next job was to flush 2 cows. They flushed each cow and then took the embryos into the lab and sorted them under a microscope. They explained what made the best embryos and what did not and then I got to look at them to see firsthand what they were talking about. We got to talk about different methods of flushing cows and different types of hormones used when flushing. I was also able to palpate both of the cows as one cow gave more embryos than the other to feel the difference in their reproductive tracts. They took me through the whole process from harvesting the embryos out of the cow, to sorting them, placing them into straws and then cooling them down so they can be eventually placed into liquid nitrogen.
We were also called out to a couple of farm visits (as Chuck is also a vet) to some cattle. Dr Hannon and his associates are food animal vets, which includes cattle, sheep and pigs, but no horses. They also have recently started artificially inseminating sheep and goats at their facility. They A.I.’ed quite a number of sheep and were using some fresh and also frozen semen to inseminate the ewes. I was able to watch the entire process which was really interesting and even get to help out!