For many years, cattle producers have been shipping embryos and semen across the country. This has become second nature to many people within the industry. One growing trend is exporting embryos to other countries. To export to another country there are testing requirements for the donors, bulls and even the embryos.
So where does someone even start? We had the opportunity to sit down with Trans Ova Genetics Export Coordinator, Nicole Seible and discuss the key facts to know when it comes to exporting embryos to other countries.
What countries are we able to export to?
Trans Ova Genetics can export to just about any country depending on the embryo testing requirements of the desired country. The top three countries we export embryos to are Canada, the EU and Australia.
Are there any specific requirements when it comes to exporting to China?
Yes, anyone interested in exporting China needs to have the work done at a China approved facility. Trans Ova Iowa and Trans Ova Maryland are the only two facilities currently in the Trans Ova system approved for China exports. There are only 20 approved facilities currently approved in the United States. Also, it is important to know that the semen needs to come from a China approved bull stud facility. Currently, there is only 11 approved bull studs.
Who sets all the testing requirements for exports?
The USDA and the specific country’s government work to set testing requirements and regulations to bring embryos in and out of the country. Trans Ova does not make these regulations and rules. We have a dedicated staff that learns these rules and ensures we are following them and educating our clients.
How often do the requirements change?
The USDA or country’s government can change requirements at their discretion. The rules could be set for 10 years, and then change all of the sudden. In these cases, we work quickly to make the appropriate changes in our system and make sure any current shipments are still eligible to be exported.
How many embryos did Trans Ova export last year?
Last year, Trans Ova exported just over 5000 embryos.
What is the most important thing people should know about exporting embryos?
Be proactive! One of the most important things people should know about exporting embryos is knowing what country you would like to export to. From there, Trans Ova can identify the country’s testing requirements. A common mistake is that people will create embryos for a designated country then change their mind. By that time, it is too late, as each country has different requirements and the testing window may have closed. Being able to be proactive and planning ahead is extremely beneficial.
Are there different requirements for in vitro (IVF) embryos versus in vivo (ET) embryos?
Yes, depending on which country you have chosen for export. For Canada, IVF and ET embryos, as of right now, do not have any testing requirements. But again, that is up to the USDA and Canada’s discretion to change the testing requirements as they see fit. Some countries require extra testing for IVF and some countries require extra testing for ET. Therefore, it is good to investigate testing requirements before the embryo creation process begins.
Anything else important to know?
If you are looking to do an export project or want to inquire on an export project, call our Sioux Center, IA location.
712-722-3586 ext. 3204
We will help walk through the entire process step-by-step - whether you are a regular exporter and still have questions or are brand new to the process.