Embryo Transfer (E.T)

Embryo transfer can be utilised to allow a high genetic merit ewe to produce multiple offspring during one breeding season.  E.T can also be used to produce lambs from ewes that are unable to rear offspring themselves (i.e mastitic quarters).  Donor ewes should be in good body condition, not lame and should ideally have bred before.

Donor ewes have to be programmed with hormone injections, which stimulate the ovary to produce multiple follicles, and consequently multiple eggs (oocytes).  The ewe is laparoscopically A.I'd to optimise fertilisation.  The subsequent embryos are recovered surgically (flushed) 5 days later.  Embryos are graded after collection; those unsuitable for transfer are identified and destroyed.  Most embryo transfer is performed on centre at Newbiggin, but can be carried out on farm by arrangement for larger numbers.  The donor and recipient programmes should be followed carefully in order to optimise results.  Donor ewes can be re-programmed for further flusing or bred naturally.


 Example of E.T programme using frozen semen:

DAY 1 Anytime Donors Sponges in
DAY 8 Anytime Donors Changes sponges
DAY 10 9am Donors 2ml Pluset
  7pm Donors 1.5ml Pluset
DAY 11 9am Donors 1.5ml Pluset
  7pm Donors 1.5ml Pluset
DAY 12 9am Donors 1.5ml Pluset
  7pm Donors 1ml Pluset
DAY 13 10am Donors Pull sponges and inject 1ml Pluset
  7pm Donors 1.5ml (300iu) PMSG
DAY 14 All day Donors Tease and record oestrus onset
  From evening Donors Remove food
DAY 15 9am Donors A.I
  4pm Donors A.I
DAY 19 From evening Donors Remove food and water
DAY 20 All day Donors E.T at centre


An average flush yields 6 embryos however this is highly dependant on breed, age, time of year and previous breeding history.  Embryos can either be frozen for later use or implanted fresh into recipient ewes.

Managing recipient ewes

Recipient ewes are programmed as above prior to E.T.  They should be in good health and selected for ease of lambing and mothering ability.  We recommend programming 6 recipient ewes per donor ewe.  Any changes in management or stress should be avoided before and after E.T to allow embryos to implant.

There are residential facilities available at Newbiggin where donor and recipient ewes can be programmed and managed at your convenience.


Cost of E.T

There is a set price for programming and flushing ewes, excluding residential fees at Newbiggin.  Charges for freezing or transfer is dependant upon the number of viable embryos recovered.  For up to date prices please see our current price list or contact the practice for more iinformation.

Sheep Breeding Services


A 5% discount is available for payment on the day of work only.