AETA 2018 Scholarship Winner Report: Nate Baribault

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Published on: December 27, 2018

I was able to have another great experience at the CETA/ACTE and AETA annual meeting. I attended the annual conference a few years ago when it was hosted in Madison, Wisconsin. Like the Wisconsin conference, Montreal was an excellent location. The food was fantastic, the presentations shared a wealth of information that I was not familiar with, and I was able to socialize with other students and practitioners that had similar interests.

Before heading to the conference, I went through the program and thought that the presentations discussing nutrition and oocyte quality, the use of sexed semen, and the incorporation of in vitro fertilization (IVF), both in house and mobile, into practice would be the most interesting personally. Each of these presentations had some take-home points that I can utilize in the future.

With regard to oocyte quality and nutrition, it appears that vitamin A, D, and folic acid/B12 play an important role in production of quality oocytes and additional supplementation to donors may provide a benefit in both in vivo and in vitro embryo production. The presentation also mentioned that overconditioned females add lipid to the follicular fluid and this can affect mitochondrial function and oocyte quality. I have seen overconditioned donors struggle to produce oocytes and embryos, and was interested to see a reason behind it.

The discussions on the use of sexed semen in cattle also yielded practical advice. I was unaware that sexed semen was precapacitated and that breeding later in estrus would yield significantly better results. As a general rule of thumb, breed females 18 to 24 hours after estrus begins, or roughly 6 to 12 hours later than when you would breed with conventional semen. When utilizing sexed semen on donors, breeding later also showed a significant increase in fertilized embryos by breeding donors multiple times from 18 to 36 hours after the start of estrus. With the gain in popularity of bovine sexed semen, I believe there is a demand in other species, such as deer and small ruminants, and would be interested in seeing this technology utilized in these smaller industries.

Last, incorporating IVF into a traditional practice and the mobile ovum pick up (OPU) lab presentations provided ideas to increase business and a basis on setting up an OPU lab. Over the past couple of years, IVF has become more and more popular due to a few benefits over conventional embryo production. With this gain in popularity, adding OPU services is a necessity to stay relevant within the industry.

I enjoyed my time in Montreal, was able to make connections with practitioners and other students, and became more familiar with where the assisted reproductive technology industry is headed. I am planning to attend the 2019 conference in Colorado Springs next fall as a new graduate.

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