Embryo Transfer (ET) in cattle has gained popularity and is adopted worldwide with dairy and beef producers due to its potential in exploiting the genetics for breeding better offspring. Embryo transfer is an assisted reproduction process consisting two major components: generating and then obtaining (flushing) the embryos from a donor female and transferring each embryo into a different female (surrogate) for reproduction. It is analogous with the use of frozen semen to exploit the genetics of the male. Although the first ET was recorded as early as 1890, most of the technologies were developed in the 1970s and 1980s.After the successful commercialization in North America, it was gradually adopted by the Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, India and other countries.
From a statistical point of view, there are an estimated 150,000 potential “eggs” or ova in the cattle. By traditional breeding, only a very small fraction (have one calf per year, totaling 8-10 calves in lifetime) is utilized for such huge potential, especially for cows with exceptional genetic properties. ET can achieve a significantly higher offspring (around 30-35 calves in lifetime) with genetic improvement from a superior cow like Friesian.
The costs of embryo transfer are variable and dependent on a number of factors associated with methods and facilities deployed. However, high adoption of ET technology in countries like Bangladesh requires special consideration and localization through which improved quality cattle can be produced with a very low cost compared to importing superior cow breed from foreign country. Furthermore, local superior cow characteristics (i.e. 40liter milk per day) can be made available through this technology.
It has been observed that, energetic, educated, willful young entrepreneurs have grown interest in dairy farming and investing capital on dairy farming. This breeding technology is suitable for these farms as they have modern farming knowledge and high technology adaptability. To make this technology available in Bangladesh, different institution such as, Bangladesh Agricultural University, Mymensingh (BAU), Department of Livestock Services (DLS), Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute (BLRI) have already started the research and application of ET. It is believed that, in near future, government, research institute, academician and private sector (having required capacity) will jointly contribute to the development and dissemination of the Embryo Transfer technology throughout the country.
Dr. F H Ansarey
Managing Director & CEO