Skip to main content
Review article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

In vitro fertilisation in domestic mammals-a brief overview

Sjunnesson, Ylva;


Many factors influence the final oocyte maturation, fertilisation, and early embryo development, and there are both similarities and differences between species. When comparing the advancement of assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs), the development in the bovine species is not far behind the medical front, with around one million in vitro-produced bovine embryos each year. This rate of progress is not seen in the other domestic species. This review aims to give an overview of the development and specific difficulties of in vitro embryo production in various domestic animal species, with the main focus on cows, pigs, and cats. In production animals, the aim of ARTs is commonly to increase the genetic progress, not to treat reproductive failure. The ARTs are also used for preservation of genetic diversity for the future. However, specifically for oocyte maturation, fertilisation, and early embryonic development, domestic mammals such as the cow and pig can be used as models for humans. This is particularly attractive from an animal welfare point of view since bovine and porcine oocytes are available in large numbers from discarded slaughterhouse material, thereby decreasing the need for research animals. Both for researchers on the animal and human medical fronts, we aim for the development of in vitro production systems that will produce embryos and offspring that are no different from those conceived and developed in vivo. Species-comparative research and development can provide us with crucial knowledge to achieve this aim and hopefully help us avoid unnecessary problems in the future.


Embryo; in vitro maturation; in vitro production; oocyte; species comparison

Published in

Upsala Journal of Medical Sciences

2020, volume: 125, number: 2, pages: 68-76

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Clinical Sciences

UKÄ Subject classification

Animal and Dairy Science

Publication Identifiers


URI (permanent link to this page)