IVF Aspiration “Learning Curve”

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Published on: March 21, 2017

IVF Aspiration “Learning Curve”
By Dr. Pat Comyn, DVM

What I’ve Learned from my Foray into IVF/OPU

I launched myself into trying to provide OPU about a year ago. I am AETA certified and EU qualified and have performed ultrasound exams for pregnancy, fetal aging and sexing for about 12 to 17 years. I’ve manually palpated a lot of cows in my career. So, taking on OPU wasn’t going to be a huge leap I thought. Ha Ha. I was wrong. So, here I’ll try to give a list of things that I’ve learned will sting you if you commit them while doing OPU.

  1. Recovering oocytes is a more difficult skill than merely sticking an ultrasound-guided needle in a follicle.
  2. An ultrasound image is 2-D; a follicle is 3-D. Memories of my dislike for radiography in vet school emerge. So, the needle in front or behind a follicle isn’t in the follicle.
  3. Young donors (6–9 month) are tough—not a lot of room in there. A narrow probe is important.
  4. The donor needs to be well restrained. Putting a needle in a 4-mm circle is hard. It’s harder if the donor is moving back and forth.
  5. FSH stimulation is a world of controversy in itself. You have the Brazilian no FSH school, the Canadian long FSH exposure school and everything in between.
  6. Temperature is really important. Temperatures >40°C will kill oocytes. Temperatures <30°C are not good. So, check and monitor everything, and keep an eye on battery-operated items such as incubators.
  7. The ultrasound unit is really important. You need a unit that gives a really good image of the ovary, preferably one that one can enlarge quite a bit. You need to be able to see the bevel of the needle.
  8. Should you use a long needle or short needle? There are good and bad sides with each. A short needle is cheap, but there are more things to worry about such as line separations. A long needle is more sturdy but has a higher cost. I like the Brazilian tube in pocket method; the long needle might not fit, line size wise, in that model.
  9. Air conditioners and fans in the laboratory are bad. You really need zero air movement. Air carries bacteria and fungi. So, wear a t-shirt, and have plenty of towels to mop your brow.
  10. Yes, some plastics are bad. Bad means a poor conversion of viable oocytes to embryos. Your laboratory needs to call the ball and either send approved supplies or a supply sku list.
  11. Regarding donors, apart from inherent differences on oocyte recovery numbers, some cows make embryos that make calves and others are on Earth for mutual aggravation.
  12. As far as bulls in IVF, apparent semen quality and viable IVF embryo aren’t necessarily correlated. The young contract mating sires in dairy breeds usually have no data initially on results.



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