April President’s Letter

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Published on: April 30, 2013

photoAs winter refuses to release its grip here in the Northeast, I have the opportunity to reflect upon my first few months as President. It has fortunately been absent of any serious issues or problems and the only major event to grace this period was our winter board meeting which was held at FASS headquarters in Champaign-Urbana. Although the board often meets in the winter at the venue selected for the annual meeting, it had been decided that utilizing the FASS offices was both logistically prudent and an excellent opportunity to get some face-time with the folks that do so much to make our organization run. In hindsight I believe this to have been an excellent decision and would encourage future boards to periodically meet there as well.

We also agreed to extend the length of this year’s meeting by a day to allow the board to participate in a facilitated strategic planning session. Many organizations utilize such sessions to provide direction and guidance and, given that several years have passed since the AETA went through such a process, the board deemed it an appropriate time to take a close look at who we are and where we are headed – both in the short term and long. While the details and refinements of this planning session will be an ongoing process in the months to come, the board did formulate an outline that will hopefully provide direction and ideas for the years to come. This document will also be reviewed with the committee chairs prior to our next board meeting given that the action points will be implemented at this level.

In January of this year Dr. Michael Pugh travelled to Hanover Germany to represent the AETA at the annual IETS conference. I would like to thank Michael for taking the time away from family and work to make this long trip. I believe it only benefits our organization to maintain a clear working relationship with the IETS and we are looking at some joint projects both in the near future and long-term. Specifically, many of our members will be involved in the pre-conference symposium “Practical Advances in Embryo Technology” at the IETS conference in Reno in January 2014. In addition Charles and Michael (our conference co-chairs) are working to ensure that the content of our meeting in Reno this fall is complimentary to that of the IETS later that winter.

Member services and education continue to be a primary focus of your board of directors. In Champaign-Urbana the board voted unanimously to provide a financial safety-net (for at least the next three years) to ensure that the embryo transfer training workshops will continue to be a part of the pre-conference program at each AABP conference. The AETA has a long history of involvement in these workshops and I would like to thank Dr. Randall Hinshaw for his diligent work in maintaining that spirit. I am also pleased to announce that Drs. Dave Matsas and Richard Whitaker, along with the staff at SVF Foundation in Newport, RI, have completed filming of a new small ruminant ET training video. Pre-edited footage looks fantastic and we are on schedule to have this available both on the website and as a DVD by our annual meeting.
That’s all the news for now and in closing I would simply wish everyone a safe and productive summer. Don’t forget to save the date for our conference in Reno this fall and remember to mention the student scholarships and free student membership as you interact with those that are up and coming within the profession.

Kevin A. Lindell

Catching Up: Joe Oden

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Published on: April 30, 2013

Thanks to AETA for the opportunity to let ya`ll know what`s been going on in my life since retirement about seven years ago (can`t possibly be that long ago). It really has been great not having to think about how many cows we are going to collect (not flush) and transfer this week and how far we are going to travel to get that work done. Don`t get me wrong, ET was very good to me for nearly thirty years. I do miss seeing many of the good clients and working with friends and staff. We have leased our place where we had the business to a good friend whom I worked with for many years and he has professional staff come in to do the collections and transfers.

After “hanging up the sleeve”, I totally gave cows up. Essentially not touching one until late last year when a former partner and friend contacted me about helping him out while he would be out recovering from abdominal surgery. I first declined because there had been so much time since I had been “in” a cow. About a week later, he called with “an offer you can`t refuse.” Adequate pay and a paid for week of golf in Arizona–I did not refuse. We made that trip in late October and had a great time playing the beautiful courses John had scheduled. After getting back and somewhat looking forward to the work scheduled in mid-December, I was unable to do it because of a severe heart issue. Apparently a congenital enlarged aorta or, as the cardiologist called it, an aortic aneurysm and resulting torn aortic valve, I found myself in St Luke’s hospital in Houston. They replaced the upper aorta and the aortic valve. Fortunately all coronary arteries were in great shape.

Thanks be to God and prayers from those of you that knew and things seem to be great now. I am back to playing a lot of golf and a lot of work around the home place. I think the surgeons removed some of my golf swing, but at least I can still get out there. Before this all happened, my wife Marcia and I made a two week trip to Myrtle Beach where I played in the World Amateur Handicapped Championship and won my flight which allowed me to play in the championship round–that didn’t come quite as good.

All things considered, retirement has been good as I have been able to stay in touch with several ET friends, done some domestic traveling and am taking life pretty easy. It is good to do things that you don`t necessarily have to do and can spend more time with my lovely wife and a little more with my grandsons.
It still seems impossible that the time gets away so fast and for you younger ones, know it does not slow down the older you get–it only goes faster so enjoy it while you can. One other thing about being older now, I probably won`t be around to see what the final outcome will be in this country if something doesn’t change. What ever happened to people having gonads and standing up for what is right.

Thanks for all the officers and board members getting their jobs done. Sure glad it wasn’t that complicated when I was in that position.

Good luck, Good health and God Bless to all,

Joe Oden



AETA Winter Board of Directors Meeting

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Published on: April 30, 2013

The winter Meeting of the AETA Board of Directors was held at FASS headquarters in Champaign, IL on February 15th.  All the members of the Board were present as well as Jaimie Ritter and Jeremy Holzner representing FASS.

The financial status of the association was reviewed.  It was noted that the past few financial reports have been very good and that the association is in a sound financial position.  It was decided that the annual fee for certification would be reduced. A new budget was developed and approved reflecting that change.

The President’s report and the reports from all of the standing committees were reviewed in detail.  These reports show that the association is running smoothly.  Some of the highlights from the committees include the fact that the material for the small ruminant training video has been filmed and has moved into editing.  The Cooperator Committee is developing a system of presenting trade leads to AETA members via the AETA website.  The AETA will continue to help support the AABP wet lab on embryo transfer.  And, the 2015 joint AETA/CETA meeting will be held in Niagara Falls.

A fair amount of time was also spent in discussion with Dr. Matt Wheeler representing the IETS.  The IETS would like to develop a closer relationship with the AETA.  There is a preconference symposium at the 2014 IETS Conference which will be cosponsored by the AETA; our sponsorship role will be to provide knowledgeable bodies.  There will be more information as we move closer to the time of the meeting.  In addition there is very strong interest in a joint meeting of the IETS and AETA in the future, perhaps 2017.

This winter there was a second day of Board meetings.  At this meeting the Board revisited the vision and direction of the Association.  It was a pretty intense meeting, and the work is still ongoing.  Look for more in the future editions of the newsletter!

Allen Rushmer

Evidence-based ET: Is the exposure time of bovine embryos to ethylene glycol (EG) prior to freezing and/or after thawing critical to survival?

Categories: Evidence-Based ET
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Published on: April 30, 2013

Is the exposure time of bovine embryos to ethylene glycol (EG) prior to freezing and/or after thawing critical to survival?

John F. Hasler

Efficient and efficacious cryopreservation of bovine embryos is critical to the commercial ET industry because, as shown by the most recent AETA statistics (2011), 72% of embryos were frozen following collection versus only 28% that were transferred fresh into recipients. Following the published report of Voelkel and Hu in 1992 on cryopreservation with EG, the commercial bovine ET industry rather quickly switched from glycerol to EG as the major cryoprotectant in freezing media. The overall percentage of embryos frozen in EG rose rapidly starting in 1992 and reached 97% in 2008, the last year that the AETA collected data on this specific statistic.

During the past 20 years there has been a continuing debate among ET practitioners regarding the question of whether EG is more toxic than glycerol to bovine embryos. This concern has led some practitioners to limit exposure time of embryos to EG for a maximum of 5 min prior to chilling and seeding. I am not aware of any published reports showing that EG is any more toxic to bovine embryos than is glycerol. Voelkel and Hu (1992) reported that 100% of IVF blastocysts exposed for 20 min to 1.5M EG or 1.5M propylene glycol were viable 48 h after being rehydrated in holding medium and cultured in vitro. The authors’ interpretation was that “neither of the cryoprotectants was overtly toxic to bovine embryos”. Also, in the original US patent filed by Voelkel in 1992, an exposure time of 10 to 20 min to EG prior to freezing, at a temperature of 18° to 25°C, was recommended.

Two studies demonstrated that exposure of in vitro-produced (IVP) embryos to EG for up to 40 min (Hasler et al., 1997) or 60 min (Takagi et al., 1993a) prior to freezing did not decrease survival rate of embryos following thawing and return to in vitro culture.  Obviously, there is also embryo exposure to EG after thawing and prior to transfer. In an additional study, Takagi et al. (1993b) reported no differences in the survival of IVP embryos exposed to 1.8M EG for 15 min, frozen in a direct transfer protocol and then thawed and held in the straws for <1, 10 and 30 min at 20-25°C before being cultured in vitro. Matoba, et al. (2004) also examined the effect of EG exposure after thawing of IVP embryos and included temperature as another factor.  There were no differences in embryo survival after 0, 10, 20 or 30 min exposure at 26.0°C or of 0, 10 or 20 min exposure at 38.5°C. However, at 38.5°C embryo survival decreased when exposure time exceeded 30 min.  Lastly, a recent study in Argentina that involved large numbers of in vivo-derived embryos exposed to EG for different periods of time prior to freezing and then in vitro culture after thawing failed to detect an influence of exposure time (Tribulo, et al., 2012). Specifically, blastocyst re-expansion and hatching rates were similar for embryos exposed to EG for 5, 10, 20 and 30 minutes

Enough on in vitro culture, how about pregnancy results of actual transfers into recipients?

Martinez, et al. (2002) reported that there was no significant difference in the pregnancy rates or calving rates of recipients after transfer of in vivo-derived embryos frozen for DT after 5 min versus 20 min exposure to EG.  A study in Japan resulted in very similar pregnancy rates after transfer of embryos exposed to EG for periods ranging from 5 to 45 min compared to embryos frozen in glycerol that were thawed and then diluted in a step-wise protocol (Dochi et al. 1998). Contemporary comparisons of exposure time to EG within one laboratory or ET program provide the most powerful evidence. However, comparisons between ET programs also provide some indication that EG is not toxic when exposure time is more than 5 min. In the data set that I collected in 2012 from 5 large commercial ET units in Canada and the US, there was no evidence that exposure time to EG ranging from 4 minutes to 40 minutes had an influence on conception rates (Hasler, J.F., 2012).  One last data set was reported from Canada early in the commercial usage of EG for embryo freezing. McIntosh and Hazeleger (1994) reported a pregnancy rate of 59% for a large number of embryos that were exposed to EG for 10 to 20 min prior to freezing in EG.


The data that I have been able to uncover strongly support the principle that toxicity is not an issue when embryos are exposed to EG for periods up to 30 or more minutes. However, there is some evidence that somewhat shorter maximal exposures of 20 min or so should be used at elevated temperatures.


I do not recommend that anyone currently using minimal exposure times of 5 min or so lengthen the timing of their protocol. If a protocol is working well and does not involve serious inconvenience, there is no reason to change, even if science supports the efficacy of different protocols.



Dochi, O., Yamamoto, Y., Saga, H., et al. 1998. Direct transfer of bovine embryos frozen-thawed in the presence of propylene glycol or ethylene glycol under on-farm conditions in an integrated embryo transfer program. Theriogenology 49:1051-1058.

Hasler, J.F. 2012. Effect of embryo stage on pregnancy rate following direct transfer of bovine embryos frozen in ethylene glycol. IETS, January 2012, Phoenix, Arizona. (Reprod. Fertil. Dev. 24:131, 2012).


Hasler, J.F., Hurtgen, P.J., Jin, Z.Q. and Stokes, J.E. 1997. Survival of IVF-derived bovine embryos frozen in glycerol or ethylene glycol. Theriogenology 48:563-579.

McIntosh, A. and N.L. Hazeleger. 1994. The use of ethylene glycol for freezing bovine embryos. Theriogenology 41:253.

Matoba, S., Imai, K., Mimaki, Y., Marita, M., Tagawa, M., Dochi, O. and Saito, N. 2004. Toxicity of ethylene glycol on frozen and thawed IVP embryos in direct transfer method. Reprod. Fert. Dev. 16:175-176.

Martínez, A.G., Brogliatti, G.M., Valcarcel, M.A. de las Heras. 2002. Pregnancy rates after transfer of frozen bovine embryos: a field trial. Theriogenology 58:963-972.

Takagi, M., Boediono, A., Saha, S. and Suzuki, T. 1993a. Survival of frozen-thawed bovine IVF embryos in relation to exposure time using various cryoprotectants. Cryobiology 30:306-312.

Takagi, M., Otoi, T., and Suzuki, T. 1993b. Survival of frozen-thawed bovine IVM/IVF embryos in relation to post-thaw exposure time in two cryoprotectants.

Tribulo, H., Rodriguez, P. , Oviedo, J., Ongarato, F., Cuervo, R., Mapletoft, R., and Bó, G.A. 2013. Survival of in vivo-produced bovine embryos exposed to 1.5M ethylene glycol for different periods of time prior to conventional cryopreservation. Proc. of the 17th ICAR, Reprod. In Dom. Anim. 47:456-456.

Voelkel, S.A. and Hu, Y.X. 1992. Direct transfer of frozen-thawed bovine embryos. Theriogenology 37:23-37.

Newly Certified AETA Members

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Published on: April 30, 2013

Congratulations to the four individuals who passed the Certification Exam given at the AETA/CETA meeting in Winnipeg.  They are Rodney Bachtell, William Croushore, Justin Powell, and Jason Walker.  As a way of introducing these practitioners to the rest of the membership, the newsletter staff asked them to reply to a few questions.

Rodney Bachtell practices at Twin Oaks Dairy in Mercersburg, PA.  He received his DVM from VMRCVM in 1987.  Rodney was in mixed animal practice, mostly dairy between 1987 and 2004; in 2004 he went into an all dairy practice with emphasis on reproduction and mastitis.  He started doing embryo transfer in 2000 after he attended Dr. Drost’s workshop.  Rodney has dabbled some in ovine and cervid ET.  He became certified at the request of some of his clients and he wishes that he had done it sooner; preparing for the test was a great review.  Future plans include export work as it becomes available, increasing his small ruminant experience, and attending more AETA conventions.


meBill Croushore practices at the White Oak Veterinary Clinic, PC, in Berlin, PA.  He is also a weekly columnist for the Daily American newspaper in Somerset, PA.  Bill has as BS in Pharmacy from Duquesne University, 1992, and a DVM from VMRCVM, 1997.  Bill has been flushing cow for about three and a half years.  Before that he had been transferring direct transfer embryos for five years and performing reproductive ultrasound exams for ten years.  In the future he plans to continue conventional flushing and direct transfer as well as develop on-farm OPU for IVF portion of the practice.  Bill is not thinking of full time ET practice at the present, but he is not ruling it out for the future.


IMAG0505_1_1Jason Walker is a full time ET practitioner who works in conjunction with Huels Embryo Transfer Service in Altamount, IL. Jason also provides fetal sexing and diagnostic ultrasound services.  He received his DVM from the University of Illinois in 2011 and he had internships with Stan Huels, Brad Stroud, and Chuck Gue.  In the future he looks to expand his ET business and offer more services.




Unfortunately at press time we had not heard back from Justin Powell;  and we can easily include his bio  in a later edition.  In the meantime, if you see Justin or any of these other guys at the next meeting, go ahead and introduce yourself to them.

Article of Interest

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Published on: April 30, 2013

Occurrence and characteristics of residual follicles formed after transvaginal ultrasound-guided follicle aspiration in cattle

Volume 79, Issue 2 , Pages 267-273, 15 January 2013


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