Submitted to: International Embryo Transfer Society Annual Meeting
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: January 1, 2001
Publication Date: January 1, 2001
The production of embryos by superovulation is often reduced in periods of heat stress. The associated reduction in the number of transferable embryos is due to reduced super- ovulatory response, lower fertilization rate, and reduced embryo quality. There are also reports that success of in vitro fertilization procedures is reduced during warm periods of the year. Heat stress can compromise the reproductive events required for embryo production by decreasing expression of estrus behavior, altering follicular development, compromising oocyte competence, and inhibiting embryonic development. While preventing effects of heat stress can be difficult, several strategies exist to improve embryo production during heat stress. Among these strategies are changing animal housing to reduce the magnitude of heat stress, utilization of cows with increased resistance to heat stress (i.e., cows with lower milk yield or from thermally- adapted breeds), and manipulation of physiological and cellular function to overcome deleterious consequences of heat stress. Effects of heat stress on estrus behavior can be mitigated by use of estrus detection aids or utilization of ovulation synchronization treatments to allow timed embryo transfer. There is some evidence that embryonic survival can be improved by antioxidant administration and that pharma- cological treatments can be developed that reduce the degree of hyperthermia experienced by cows exposed to heat stress.