South African Journal of Animal Science
On-line version ISSN 2221-4062
Print version ISSN 0375-1589
The aim of this trial was to evaluate the effect of embryo cryopreservation techniques on the survivability of embryos and fertility following transfer to Boer goat does. The oestrous cycles of 27 mature recipients Boer goat does were synchronised using controlled internal drug release dispensers (CIDR's) for 16 days. At CIDR removal, does were injected with 300 IU eCG. The recipient does were allocated to 3 groups (n = 9 per group), based on the technique of cryopreservation used for the embryos transferred. The in vivo produced embryos used were at blastocyst stage and surgically collected on day 6 following AI from Boer goat donors superovulated with pFSH. The first group received fresh embryos and served as the control, the second group of does received conventional slow frozen/thawed embryos and the third group received vitrified/thawed embryos. Two blastocysts were transferred per doe. A pregnancy rate of 85.7% (n = 6) was obtained following the transfer of fresh embryos and tended to be better than in does receiving slow frozen and vitrified embryos, (n = 4; 50.0% and n = 3; 37.5% does pregnant, respectively). The overall gestation period recorded for all does was 146.3 ± 3.0 d, with an overall litter size of 1.7 ± 0.5 being recorded. The kidding rate of the recipient does declined to 57.0% (4) and 25.0% (2) for fresh and conventional slow frozen groups, respectively. An embryo survival rate of 35.7% (n = 5) for fresh, 25.0% (n = 4) for conventional slow freezing and 31.3% (n = 5) for vitrification was recorded and was not affected by the number of CL's present on the respective ovaries at the time of transfer. There was a tendency for more females to be born than males (ratio 1 : 2, male : female) but this could not be related to the cryopreservation technique. Although the pregnancy rate following the transfer of fresh embryos was satisfactory, the embryo survival rate following the transfer of either fresh or cryopreserved embryos tended to be less acceptable. More research is warranted with larger numbers of animals, directed at improving the survivability of embryos following fresh and cryopreserved goat embryo transfer.
Keywords : Boer goat embryos; conventional slow freezing; vitrification.