The use of synthetic gonadotropin releasing hormone treatment in the collection of sheep embryos
Gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) treatment was examined as a means of improving the efficacy of embryo collection in the sheep following intrauterine insemination of frozen-thawed semen. In summary, treatment consistently improved fertilization rates and the number of fertilized ova collected per ewe was enhanced compared with untreated ewes. The yield of fertilized ova in ewes treated with follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) was maximized by administering GnRH 36 h after progestagen treatment; 24 h was the preferred time in ewes treated with pregnant mare serum gonadotropin (PMSG). There was a significant (P < 0.001) increase in the percentage of unfertilized ova in the former treatment when GnRH was given at 24 h. An examination of the time of insemination (0, 6, 12 and 18 h before the median time of ovulation) indicated that fertilization rates were highest when inseminationo ccurred at 6 h in both GnRH-treatede wes and in untreated ewes. In GnRH-treated ewes, the recovery of ova was lowest when insemination occurred at the time of ovulation. The number of motile frozen-thawed spermatozoa required for fertilizat n treatment was estimated to be approximately 20 x +? following 10 per uterine horn. GnRH-treatment also improved the yield of fertilized ova in sheep that were naturally mated, although this yield was lower than that obtained with intrauterine insemination of frozen-thawed semen. It is concluded that fertilization failure, a major problem in sheep embryo collection, can be eliminated through judicious use of GnRH treatment and properly timed intrauterine insemination.