Embryo Transfer Program
The Flush (Step 4)

Upon arriving at the Lazy L Ranch in Livingston, AL, all determine our donor, Kattie, should be flushed immediately after lunch since she bred late, late in the evening. Three of Jeff Latham's donors would be flushed first.

The first doe produced 26 embryos. Shortly thereafter was when we learned of a possibility we had not considered: not all the recipients would work! If the recipient had not come into estrus at the same time (approximately) as the donor, her system would not accept the fertilized egg. We also learned we should have had a "tease" buck in with our recipients to determine when they came into heat. (If no "tease" buck available, we should have had our bucks in a pen near the recipients to stimulate them.)

Following are the steps of the flush procedure:

Step 1
Step 2
Step 3

1. The donor doe is given a shot in the neck to put her to sleep. It takes a few minutes for the drug to take effect.

2. Once the donor becomes woozy, two or three strong individuals lift her onto a gurney and strap down her legs.

3. Her stomach is shaved (with a number 10 blade). As the stomach is being shaved, the hair is being sucked into the vacuum to insure no stray hairs are left to contaminate the surgical area.

Step 5
Step 6
Step 8

4. Once the doe's stomach is shaved, the area must be washed three times in an iodine/benadine solution.

5. She is now ready for surgery. The donor doe is wheeled into the surgical theater, then her gurney is locked into position with her back feet in the air and her head hanging down to the floor.

6. The embryologist, John Edwards (one of only 8 goat embryologists in the US), makes two small holes approximately 3 inches below her udders. He pumps air into one of the holes to enable him to get a clear sight. He then puts a tiny lighted scope in the hole closest to him and shines a tiny light into the second hole. This enables him to have a clear view of the embryos.

7. In Kattie's case, the embryologist was able to spot 10 embryos. Success!!

Step 8
Step 9
Step 9

8. The next step was to make a one-inch slit so he could totally remove her fallopian tubes. The tiny amount of blood caused by the slit is stopped with a piece of sterile gauze.

9. John inserts a tube with a clear chemical solution into the tip of the right fallopian tube and carefully flushes the embryos into a bowl with the same solution that his very capable assistance (Jackie, his wife) is holding. He then flushes the other side.

Step 9
Step 9
Step 10

10. Jackie takes the solution with the embryos to the microscope and analyses them for viability. (In this case, only 8 of the 11 collected embryos were usable for transplant. One was not formed and the other two were not fertilized.)

Step 10
Step 11
Step 11

11. John, in the meantime, returns the fallopian tubes to their original position.

12. Next he stitches the inter layer of skin (4 stitches) then, with Jackie's assistance, he stitches the outer skin with 4 additional stitches.

Step 12
Step 12
Step 13

13. The donor is removed from the operating room, given 10 cc of penicillin G and her incisions are sprayed liberally with iodine. She also receives a shot (1 cc) of lutylase.

14. The donor is removed from the gurney, awakened, and moved into a recovery pen.

Step 13
Step 14
Step 15

15. While the doe is being moved to recovery, the first recipient (after being sedated, shaved, and sanitized) is wheeled into surgery – the preparation procedure identical to that of the donor. As with the donor, a hole is made to check to see if she has been in heat within the appropriate time period. If estrus is not immediately apparent, a second hole is made so the embryologist can move the tubes for a better look for the little red spot that indicates she has been in recent estrus. (In our case, the first two recipients didn't work, and we were beginning to get really worried. Fortunately the next four recipients were properly synchronized with the donor.)

Step 15
Step 16
Step 17

16. Once a correctly synchronized recipient is identified, a small incision is made.

17. Jackie carefully puts two embryos into a special syringe that John then uses to insert into the right fallopian tube of the recipient. Both embryos (or in the case of some of the earlier procedures three embryos) go into the same side.

18. The recipient is then sutured, taken out of the surgical room and moved to the recovery pen after getting her incisions sprayed with iodine and getting a shot of penicillin. As one recipient is being removed, the next is moved into surgery – an assembly line operation.

Step 18

Prior to going to Livingston, we made out an order that we would use our recipient does depending on how many embryos Kattie produced. At the bottom of the list were two does we had borrowed from Damon for the occasion. Next from the bottom were two fullbloods (Faith and Louise). Fifth from the bottom of our list was the doe (Corina) who had gotten sick shortly after we inserted her CIDR; she had never seemed to fully recover. Tops on our list were the two does (Eileen and Holly) we had purchased specifically to use as recipients. Xenia (a 15/16 doe), Matilda (a 7/8 doe), Dot (a 7/8 doe), and Koko (a 15/16 doe) rounded out the top six; these are does we have grown – all excellent mothers!

After Eileen and Holly didn't work, we used Xenia, Matilda, Dot, and Koko for Kattie's eight embryos. Jeff, by this time, was running short of recipients; so we agreed to let him use our remaining five does. The first one that went in was Corina, and she didn't work. But the last four were properly synchronized and are currently carrying the embryos out of Hilltop Mercedes and Jeff's buck, Trouble.

We had been told in advance that the donor, Kattie, would have to remain at the Lazy L for at least two weeks to recover. Jarring as a result of a bumpy road could easily cause her stitches to rupture. Since Jeff had the room, we elected to leave our recipients at the Lazy L for a couple weeks too. (Originally we were going to load them onto the trailer as soon as the procedure was completed and allow them to recover on the 5-hour trip back to Tennessee.) Leaving the does will allow them a better opportunity to "settle."

Only three goats, Eileen, Holly, and Corina made the trip back to Tennessee.

Embryo Transfer – (UNINTENDED STEP 5) The Adventure of the Runaway Goats

For more on Artificial Insemination click here

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Ken and Pat Motes
Clear Creek Farms
33 South Clear Creek Road
Fall River, Tennessee 38468
Phone: (931) 852-2167
Fax: (931) 852-2168


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