In vitro fertilization, or also known as IVF, is a recently created advanced reproduction technique in order to take more than one oocyte out of the cow's ovaries so that the breeder may fertilize multiple eggs. Eggs from the donor cow are then fertilized in a Petri dish and inserted into the recipient cows. It is a technique growing in popularity due to the fact that instead of having one calf a year, the owner can receive a larger calf crop. A cow may produce fifty calves just because of the use to IVF. It is primarily used to better genetics of that herd by using a specific cow and bull to produce the desired quality calves. The genetic gain is much faster in this process.
During the process of IVF, the veterinarian will use an ultrasound and a vacuum system to suck the oocytes off the cow's ovaries. Once collected, the fluid is then taken to the lab to sort the oocytes out. They are then placed into a special media that allows them to mature for 24 hours. Later, they are fertilized with semen and the resulting embryo is placed into an incubator for seven days, and then placed into the recipient cow. This technique allows producers to breed for genetic value while still gaining more calves a year. The word genomics is becoming a more well known term, and being used on an abundance of big and small producing cattle or dairy operations. The beef industry has improved amazingly with the help of new reproductive techniques. Genetic enhancement has been a big topic in beef cattle, and it has definitely set a whole new ball game to the cattle industry.