Embryonic and calving losses in bovine mixed-breed twins induced by transfer of in vitro-produced embryos to bred recipients.Anim Reprod Sci. 2002 Aug 15; 72(3-4):209-21.AR
One or two in vitro-produced (IVP) Japanese Black (JB) cattle embryos at 8 days after in vitro fertilization were transferred to the contralateral uterine horn of previously bred Japanese Shorthorn (JSH) or JSH-JB cross recipients, and then the occurrence of early embryonic death, abortion during mid- and late gestation, and calving loss were recorded. The survival rate of embryos, including indigenous ones, was not affected by the number of embryos transferred, and a significantly higher twinning rate (68% of pregnant recipients at 80 days after transfer) was achieved when two IVP embryos were transferred, as compared with the rate when one IVP embryo was transferred (24%). In late ET (recipients at 8.5-9.0 days after the onset of oestrus), the embryo survival rate (22%) and the pregnancy rate (42%) at 80 days after ET were significantly lower than those rates in the synchronous ET (recipients at 8.0 days after the onset of oestrus; 47 and 79%, respectively). In the early ET (recipients at 6.0-7.5 days after the onset of oestrus), no significant differences from the synchronous ET were detected in these rates. Twenty-six percent of twin pregnant recipients were aborted during mid- or late-pregnancy, and 39% of twin calves were stillborn. The mean gestation length of the twin-bearing JSH dams (276 days) was 1 week shorter than that of the single-bearing JSH dams, and it was 2 weeks shorter than that of the JB dams bearing a single JB calf derived from the IVP embryos. The longer gestation length of single JB calves derived from IVP embryos resulted in a significantly higher mean birth weight than that of in vivo control calves with the standard length of gestation. In conclusion, the number of embryos to be transferred did not affect the embryo survival rate, and the transfer of two IVP embryos to previously inseminated recipients induced a significantly higher twinning rate during early pregnancy than that of one IVP embryo transfer. The incidence of embryonic losses during early pregnancy increased when Day 8 embryos were transferred to the recipients later in the oestrous cycle (>8.0 days). The results suggested that one cause of the high rate of abortions and stillbirths in twin-bearing dams is the difference in the mean gestation length between the native JSH and JB foetuses derived from transferred IVP embryos.