Embryo transfer allows the rapid of multiple offspring from elite females within your flock.
Embryo transfer is the process by which fertilised embryos are flushed (removed) from a donor ewe and then transplanted into suitably synchronised recipient ewes to establish a surrogate pregnancy. The donor ewe is treated with hormones so that she produces more eggs than usual at a synchronised mating. This programme usually lasts 20 days with the ewe being artificially inseminated on day 14, and the six-day-old embryos being flushed from her on day 20. The flushing is a surgical procedure done through a small abdominal incision under general anaesthetic. Embryos are then either transferred into prepared surrogate recipient ewes in a process similar to laparoscopic AI, or frozen for future use. The ability to freeze embryos means flushing can take place out of the breeding season and a single ewe can be flushed multiple times. Frozen embryos can also be purchased from other breeders and implanted into recipient ewes. Recipient ewes are chosen for their mothering ability and likelihood of being able to give birth naturally.
Embryo transfer is usually done on site at Barnard Castle, but could be done on farm if facilities were suitable and there are sufficient numbers of donors.