AETA President’s Report – Summer 2019

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Published on: July 26, 2019

Greetings fellow AETA members:

As the summer heat settles in, we wish everyone a safe and relaxing season. The year tends to pass quickly, and we continue to gear up for our annual convention in beautiful Colorado Springs. We thank Dr. Matt Dorshorst and his convention planning team for their outstanding efforts on this convention. You can be certain we have planned a special event for all of you!

Our research committee has added a poster contest for all AETA and CETA members to participate in, including students. This will spice up our exhibitor area for additional interaction and educational opportunities. Up to 10 students will receive complimentary registration as an incentive to participate. We will continue to award our student scholarship winners as well.

AETA has teamed up with AASRP to host a small ruminant embryo transfer seminar at Ohio State University in June, and we continue to provide the Edwin Robertson Embryo Transfer Seminar at Virginia Tech with AABP in August. We have enjoyed collaborating with other allied partners in our industry to provide the best educational opportunities in the business.

IETS has invited AETA and CETA to a joint convention in 2023. We will fully analyze the schedule and logistics of this concept for that calendar year to decide whether the opportunity works well for each of the organizations involved. Please contact us with your comments and suggestions.

We hope you continue to appreciate the efforts of our promotion and membership committees. We completed a new brochure for use at AABP and AASRP seminars and conventions as well as other events throughout the year. Facebook has attracted a lot of attention from users who “like” our page and follow the news and highlights of our association. The AETA brand has been promoted nationally and internationally.

AETA has a lot to celebrate, and our committees are vibrant and innovative. We invite you to participate and serve as well as provide feedback to us throughout the year so we can steadily communicate with members. Thank you for the opportunity to serve this great organization, and we look forward to visiting with you in Colorado this fall.

Matt Iager, DVM

Proposed By-Laws Changes to be Voted on at AETA Annual Business Meeting–October 25, 2019

Categories: Board of Directors
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Published on: July 26, 2019

Dear AETA members:

The purpose of AETA is to unite those organizations and individuals in the United States engaged in the embryo transfer industry into an affiliated federation operating under self- imposed standards of performance and conduct. As AETA delivers on education and standards of quality through its certification program, we become the “voice” for our diverse membership.

Based on recommendations from the membership, the board has proposed the following modifications to the By-Laws relating to membership categories. The reasons for the changes are several. These changes will make official some membership categories that have been previously offered but not officially recognized in the By-Laws, such as Life Membership. It will also make official reduced membership fees to former student members for one year following graduation. The proposed changes will also move the Association in the direction of a professional association and away from a trade association. We feel this is important to continue to foster relationships with other professional veterinary and animal science organizations such as AABP, AASRP, and IETS. This transition will allow the Association to continue to fulfill its primary purpose of education and promoting a high standard of quality through certification. Finally, it will reduce some redundancy in the membership categories by combining Regular and Associate Membership into only Associate Membership.

  • Professional: An individual who is actively engaged in the embryo transfer industry who is a licensed veterinarian in the US or holds a PhD in reproductive physiology from a US institution. Other equivalent degrees as approved by the Board of Directors. Professional Members are eligible to vote, serve on committees, and hold an office in the Association.
  • Associate: Organizations or individuals engaged in a business or occupation related to the embryo transfer industry that do not meet the requirements for Professional, Emeritus, Life, or Student Memberships. These Associate Members may not vote but will otherwise be entitled to full privileges of membership and can attend meetings, serve on committees, and receive newsletters.
  • Life: Board of Directors can confer, at its discretion, honorary Life Membership to a practitioner for exemplary service. Life Members may enjoy the rights of their previous Professional Membership status.
  • Emeritus: Individuals who have been Professional Members of the Association for a period of at least 10 years and who deem themselves as retired from activities associated with Professional Membership. Emeritus Members may enjoy the rights of their previous Professional Membership status. Emeritus Membership is granted by an application, in writing, to the Board of Directors, who have the sole right to invoke or revoke the Emeritus status to a Professional Member.
  • Student: Individuals enrolled in an academic program at the graduate level and pursuing either a veterinary degree or PhD in reproductive physiology. Academic status must be verified annually by an academic advisor or a Professional Member. Student Members are not eligible to vote or hold office in the Association. Following graduation, former Student Members are eligible to become Professional Members at half of the cost of the Professional Membership for one year only.

This change in membership classification simplifies our current method and makes it easily distinguishable with less redundancy.

This letter is to inform you of a By-Laws change that will be proposed at the 2019 annual convention in Colorado Springs, Colorado, October 24-26, 2019. We hope you understand and can identify with this proposal. Please reach out to board members with questions you may have.


AETA Board of Directors

Save the date for the 2019 AETA-CETA/ACTE Joint Annual Convention!

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Published on: July 26, 2019

The 2019 AETA-CETA/ACTE Joint Annual Convention will be held from October 24–26, 2019, in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The conference will take place at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort.

All of the AETA scientific, social and exhibitor information can be found on the AETA Annual Convention page as it becomes available. Check back often!

Colorado Springs is a wonderful city to hold this convention. Below you will find some links to help you plan your stay.

Garden of the Gods
Pikes Peak Region
Olympic Training Center
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

This is a very small list of the many attractions that Colorado Springs has to offer. Please check out Visit Colorado Springs to customize your stay.

We look forward to seeing you all in beautiful Colorado in October!



Recap: AETA/AASRP 2019 Small Ruminant Embryo Transfer Seminar

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Published on: July 26, 2019

The AETA/AASRP 2019 Small Ruminant Embryo Transfer Seminar was held June 19 to 22, 2019, at The Ohio State University Large Animal Services satellite veterinary teaching hospital in Marysville, Ohio. The meeting was organized by Dr. Eric Gordon.

The course started on Wednesday, June 19, with a review of small ruminant reproductive physiology by Dr. Sherri Clark. Dr. Bill Croushore and Dr. Dave Dixon discussed embryos processing, grading, and cryopreservation. Drs. Mattes and Shipley discussed embryo collection, anesthesia, and sync methods as well as more reproductive physiology and handling of semen. Later in the day, a goat was surgically flushed as a demonstration.

On Thursday, June 20, and Friday, June 21, course participants broke out into teams of three and flushed three goats or sheep each day. All flushing occurred under gas anesthesia. After each flush, the teams searched embryos, and viable embryos were cryopreserved. Later in the day, Dr. Shipley discussed semen collection and cryopreservation. He also elaborated on reproductive physiology. On Saturday, June 22, teams of three practitioners each laparoscopically inseminated three ewes.

The meeting went very well, and it is felt that participants were quite satisfied with the value of this course. Dr. Eric Gordon at OSU CVM at Marysville deserves a huge thank you for his efforts in bringing this course together and in convincing clients to provide animals to flush. Dr. Justin Kieffer with OSU Animal Science was a huge help in bringing in his technician staff and in assisting with planning for animal usage in this CE meeting and for providing, via the animal science department, some of the animals used.

Preliminary trials of a specific gravity technique in the determination of early embryo growth potential†

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Published on: July 26, 2019

Read full article here

S.D. Prien,1,2,* C.E. Wessels,2 and L.L. Penrose1

. 2015 Sep; 30(9): 2076–2083.
Published online 2015 Jul 22. doi: 10.1093/humrep/dev178
PMCID: PMC4542720
PMID: 26202920



Can a modified specific gravity technique be used to distinguish viable from nonviable embryos?


Preliminary data suggests a modified specific gravity technique can be used to determine embryo viability and potential for future development.


Single embryo transfer (SET) is fast becoming the standard of practice. However, there is currently no reliable method to ensure development of the embryo transferred.


A preliminary, animal-based in vitro study of specific gravity as a predictor of embryo development using a mouse model.


After a brief study to demonstrate embryo recovery, experiments were conducted to assess the ability of the specific gravity system (SGS) to distinguish between viable and nonviable embryos. In the first study, 1-cell mouse embryos were exposed to the SGS with or without previous exposure to an extreme heat source (60°C); measurements were repeated daily for 5 days. In the second experiment, larger pools of 1-cell embryos were either placed directly in culture or passed through the SGS and then placed in culture and monitored for 4 days.


In the first experiment, viable embryos demonstrated a predictable pattern of descent time over the first 48 h of development (similar to previous experience with the SGS), while embryos that were heat killed demonstrated significantly altered drop patterns (P < 0.001); first descending faster. In the second experiment, average descent times were different for embryos that stalled early versus those that developed to blastocyst (P < 0.001). Interestingly, more embryos dropped through the SGS developed to blastocyst than the culture control (P < 0.01).


As this is a preliminary report of the SGS technology determining viability, a larger embryo population will be needed. Further, the current in vitro study will need to be followed by fecundity studies prior to application to a human population.


If proven, the SGS would provide a noninvasive means of assessing embryos prior to transfer after assisted reproductive technologies procedures, thereby improving fecundity and allowing more reliable SET.


The authors gratefully acknowledge the funding support of the U.S. Jersey Association, the Laura W. Bush Institute for Women’s Health and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute grant through the Undergraduate Science Education Program to Texas Tech University. None of the authors have any conflict of interest regarding this work.



Keywords: embryo development, embryo selection, embryo viability, specific gravity, buoyance, noninvasive, zygote, blastocyst

Legality of Compounded Estradiol for Embryo Transfer

Categories: Catching Up, Practice Tips
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Published on: July 25, 2019

The AABP office has received questions from members regarding the legality of using compounded estradiol products in cattle for embryo transfer protocols. AABP has also been in discussion with the FDA about the use of compounded estradiol products in food animals. Compounding from approved drugs in animals is only permitted under the narrowly defined conditions outlined in AMDUCA (Section 21 CFR 530.13). To be permitted, extralabel use from compounding of approved animal drugs or approved human drugs must be in compliance with all relevant provisions of 21 CFR 530 (AMDUCA), including the provisions limiting extralabel use to treatment modalities when the health of an animal is threatened or suffering or death may result from failure to treat. The extralabel use regulation also does not provide for compounding from active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs or bulk drugs—i.e., the raw chemical) for use in animals. Therefore, it is illegal for veterinarians to use or prescribe compounded estradiol for cattle, or any form of estrogenic compounds for production purposes, including embryo transfer and synchronization protocols. AABP encourages cattle veterinarians to refrain from administering or prescribing compounded estradiol for the following reasons:

  • AMDUCA only allows for extralabel drug use when the health of an animal is threatened. There is no production allowance, particularly for compounding; therefore one cannot use human-approved drugs (e.g., ECP, Pfizer) or a different form of an animal-approved drug (e.g., growth-promoting implants) for production purposes.
  • Compounding from a bulk product is specifically prohibited in AMDUCA regulations.
  • The safety, potency, efficacy, stability, sterility, and disposition of compounded products is unknown. Compounded products do not undergo FDA inspection, potency testing, or efficacy testing. Veterinary compounding pharmacies that also compound for humans are under federal regulation and are FDA inspected; however, this only applies to the human side of the compounding operation. Veterinary compounding pharmacies do not have this level of oversight. There is no guarantee of the safety or efficacy of compounded products, and liability for the use of such products falls on the veterinarian in the event of an adverse reaction or violative residue.
  • Because the safety, efficacy, potency, and disposition of the compounded product is not known, it is impossible to assign a withdrawal interval for compounded products.
  • The use of compounded products in food animals places a veterinarian at risk of professional liability.

The need for estradiol for successful embryo transfer protocols has not been unequivocally established. For example, data from nearly 7,000 collections did not demonstrate a difference when using GnRH in place of estradiol in the protocol.1 Additional references are available on the Reproduction Committee page of the website at Veterinarians who engage in federally prohibited activities put themselves at risk and also risk the profession’s reputation for appropriate and judicious oversight of pharmaceutical products in our cattle patients. This is especially of concern when using an unapproved and illegally manufactured hormone product.

AABP Newsletter 5 May 2019.

Please contact Dr. Fred Gingrich at with any questions.

Submitted by the AABP Reproduction Committee and the AABP Committee on Pharmaceuticals and Biologics.

1Hinshaw, R.H. Comparison of GnRH and estradiol 17β for follicle turnover in bovine superovulation protocols. Proceedings of the American Embryo Transfer Association 2013, p. 15.

In vitro culture systems: how far are we from optimal conditions?

Categories: Research Publications
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Published on: July 25, 2019

C. Wrenzycki

Anim Reprod, vol.13, n3, p.279-282, 2016


Over the past decades in vitro production (IVP) of bovine embryos has been significantly improved. Nevertheless, embryos generated in vitro still differ from their in vivo produced counterparts. Embryos must adjust to multiple microenvironments at preimplantation stages. Consequently, maintaining or mimicking the in vivo situation in vitro will aid to improve the quality and developmental competence of the resulting embryo.

cattle, embryo, in vitro production

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