Donor Management

© 2012 Stroud Veterinary Embryo Services

Successful production of numerous, viable embryos is the expectation placed on donor cows destined for embryo transfer . While harvesting embryos from a donor is certainly an art, there are many physiological and technical factors that must be considered and appropriately managed in order to achieve a successful flush. At SVES, we pride ourselves on our exceptional donor management program and believe it is one of the most important services we offer our clients. Our facilities allow for proper restraint of the donors so that they can be handled safely, and our personnel are trained in low-stress handling techniques to maximize animal comfort and productivity. The ultimate goal of our donor management program is to produce the maximum number of viable embryos at every flush.

When a donor cow arrives at the SVES facility, she undergoes a thorough pre-enrollment exam to evaluate her physical condition as well as her reproductive health and status. The use of ultrasonography allows SVES personnel to diagnose and treat any conditions that may prevent successful superovulation or embryo transfer. For example, donors may have cystic follicles or may not be cycling at all. These problems would ultimately result in an unsuccessful flush if left undiagnosed, thus wasting valuable time and money. The ultrasound exam also allows SVES personnel to evaluate the superovulation capacity of the donor. The FSH dosage can then be customized from this examination to allow for appropriate ovarian stimulation and superovulation.

Once determined to be a good candidate for superovulation and embryo transfer, the donor is tagged with a clinic-specific identification number and managed on pasture for the duration of her stay at SVES. Since nutrition plays a vital role in successful superovulation and embryo transfer, cows are managed so that their nutritional needs are adequately met. All donor cows are supplemented with hay and grain according to their nutritional status. Since their nutritional demands differ greatly, wet and dry cows are managed separately. Furthermore, calves receive unlimited access to creep feed to relieve some milking pressure on the donors and to promote calf growth and well-being.

In addition to intensive nutritional management, SVES personnel also provide all services necessary for the successful production and collection of embryos from the donor. This includes timely and accurate administration of all injections at the dosage specific to each cow. Heat detection is performed twice daily and is aided by use of the HeatWatch® system. Use of this system allows for accurate determination of when a donor is in heat and calculation of when she needs to be bred. Highly skilled SVES technicians inseminate donor cows at specific time(s) following heat to maximize fertilization of ovulated oocytes. This translates to more viable embryos and fewer unfertilized oocytes on flush day. Furthermore, every batch of semen is evaluated at the time of breeding to ensure good quality semen is used to inseminate donor cows. This prevents the use of non-motile, abnormal or otherwise poor quality semen from being used and reduces the potential for fertilization failure.

The elite donor management program at SVES is designed to ensure the highest level of success is achieved by each cow on flush day. There are numerous problems that can cause poor performance on flush day, but we do everything we can to eliminate these issues from arising. In addition, we also offer recipient management and a weaned calf program to compliment our donor management services.

For additional details or current pricing information, please contact Sherry at 817-599-7721 or