Introduction

Embryo transfer in food animals began in the 1930s using sheep and goats; however, it was not until the early 1950s, following successful embryo transfers producing live offspring in cattle and swine, that agricultural interest began to develop for this assisted reproductive technology. The first use of embryo transfer by commercial units in North America did not occur until the early 1970s. Initially, embryos were recovered from valuable donor cattle and transferred to recipient females by time-consuming and labor-intensive surgical collection and surgical transfer methods. The popularity of embryo transfer increased markedly when the nonsurgical embryo collection and transfer procedures became available to the commercial industry in 1976. Currently, embryo transfer is more often used today by the dairy producers than by beef cattle producers.

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