We left behind a busy and at the same time very exciting year in the new EMBRYO Center of Milkmen Ltd.-Embrió Ltd in Paks-Földespuszta (Hungary). The build of the laboratory has been completed, most of the equipment has been procured and the work has begun. All in all, we can say without exaggeration that we have succeeded in creating a very functional, modern and beautiful embryo transfer center. You can read more about the investment here. In addition to the mobile station (Embrio Ltd.), we also applied for and received a permit to run the stable station.
A total of 306 in vivo embryos were recovered from our best Milkmen donors, i.e. by washing. 78% of these were first class. Our average embryo production was 5 embryos/flush, however, there were months when this number approached 8. Our best month in this regard was March, and the weakest was August (we ran a few programs at that time).
Once the embryos were collected, we tried to implant them. Numerically, 227 were transferred to recipients, 94 freshly or the next day, and 133 after freezing-thawing. The “surrogate mothers” were initially just heifers – because embryos stick better in this age of group – but from May we also used first lactating cows for this purpose. Summary of the results is yet to come — after 30 and 60 days of pregnancy — but overall, more than half of the embryo transfers resulted pregnancies. In a few months, we have achieved high pregnancy rates above our expectations, which we wrote about earlier here.
The scientifically accurate and complete data collection of the embryo production and a significant number of transfers allows us to draw certain conclusions in which we can be pioneers in the country.
It is also special that the first embryos in the herd were shocked – even before fresh transfer and freezing, we already have pregnant recipients from these embryos. For shock, we use the equipment of the Applied Cell Technolgy (PTAT method), which, based on research data, increases the cryotolerance of gametes and embryos, i.e., improves the survival of the freezing. The method has not been used in in vivo bovine production. Hopefully this year we will have great amount of data as we can make the method available as a service for the practice.
In addition, preparations have been made for embryo biopsy (you can read more about its purpose here) and other micromanipulation methods.
We have redesigned our website with new and regular content, which already contains up-to-date information in English (as you can read it 😊). Among other things, our donors have been listed, from which embryos can be booked. At the same time, we started building our foreign relations to enter the international market soon. Those interested could also meet us at the Animal Husbandry Exhibition in Hódmezővásárhely.
During autumn, we signed the first equine contract with the Hungarian Coldblood Horse Breeding Association for embryo production and sperm storage. This year we plan to implement several programs with this animal species. What’s more, we look forward to in vivo and in vitro embryo production as we are technically and manually ready to perform ICSI. With this method, we also provide domestic horse breeders with the opportunity to produce and transfer in vitro equine embryos in Hungary.
In October we attended again at the 2021 AETA-CETA/ACTE Joint Annual Virtual Convention, where a wealth of practical results were presented on a wide range of topics, which will also help us determine further directions.
By the end of the year, we were able to safely offer embryos from our own genome-tested Milkmen heifers and cows – even with fresh tranfser in Hungary, and frozen abroad. In addition, we can reliably perform an embryo program for any cattle owner in their own herd. Donor housing will be available soon. In this way, the owner has the opportunity to entrust us with the more “hard-working” parts (superovulation, fertilization, flushing) in order to produce as many embryos as possible.
Our detailed results so far are completely public for prospective clients, even to the desired depth. Our administration is over-scrupulous and up to date. Interested professionals are welcome at the EMBRYO Center in Paks, and we will have specific open days this year. After pre-registration, you can see a complete ET program – how we flush, search, freeze and transfer the embryos.
We are also planning to open our facility in a ceremonial setting.
This year will be full of similar challenges. On the one hand, we are continuing the work we have started. In vitro production of bovine embryos and their incorporation into our daily routine may also begin soon. With the appropriate results, the method will also be available as a service in cattle and equine species. We hope to have a lot of positive experience in both in vivo and in vitro embryo biopsy this year.