OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of seasonal changes on the superovulation in Black Suffolk ewes, particularly the ovulation rate and embryo quality.
DESIGN: Black Suffolk ewes were superovulated either in May (n=22) or in September (n=21), 2013. After estrus synchronization with CIDR, the donor ewes were superovulated with PMSG and seven decreasing doses of FSH (twice daily at 07:00 and 19:00 for four consecutive days. Then, they were subjected to laparoscopic intrauterine artificial insemination. The viable morula and blastocysts were recovered and immediately transferred to recipients.
RESULTS: Ewes that were superovulated in May had a much higher ovulation rate than those were superovulated in September (16.8 ± 3.23vs. 10.2 ± 2.94, p<0.01); however, the viability rate of the embryo was lower than that of September (56.0 ± 1.92% vs. 92.5 ± 3.26%, p<0.01). There was no significant difference in the survival rate of the transferred viable embryos (33.9 ± 1.00% vs. 36.7 ± 1.64%, p>0.05) and the number of offspring per donor ewe (3.1 ± 0.54 vs. 2.9 ± 0.72, p>0.05) between May and September. In contrast, the offspring/ova ratio of the donor ewes superovulated in May was lower than that of September (18.5 ± 1.64% vs. 32.8 ± 2.14%, p<0.01).
CONCLUSIONS: The superovulation of Black Suffolk ewes may be affected by the seasonal changes. Generallly, The ewe's ovulation rate was higher in May, whereas the viability rate of embryo was higher in September.