The non-surgical recovery of bovine embryos was examined using a three-lumen PVC catheter passed to the tip of each uterine horn. The recovery of eggs placed in Dulbecco's phosphate buffered saline, with protein was very efficient whether in boiling tubes or funnels. In the absence of protein egg recovery was considerably lower. In a group of 42 heifers, superovulated on two occasions, embryos were recovered non-surgically on day 7 after the first superovulation (Day 0 = oestrus) and surgically after the second. Laparotomy was performed on each occasion and the number of corpora lutea counted. Ovulation rate was lower at the second superovulation and a correspondingly greater recovery of embryos was obtained surgically (P less than 0.02). Non-surgical recovery rates from anaesthetised cows and heifers and from standing sedated heifers were found to be similar. The distance of the catheter tip from the utero-tubal junction (UTJ) significantly affected recovery rate (P less than 0.001). Best results were obtained when the catheter tip was within 5 cm of the UTJ. Most embryos were recovered in the first 100 ml of recovered medium. The method compares favourably with other reported methods.
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