Summary
This paper uses cattle as a model to provide an overview of the hazards involved in the transfer of in vivo-derived and in vitro-produced embryos. While scientific studies in recent decades have led to the identification of pathogens that may be associated with both in vivo- and in vitro-derived embryos, those studies have also been the basis of appropriate disease control measures to reduce the risks to a negligible level. These disease control measures have been identified and assessed by the International Embryo Transfer Society’s (IETS) Health and Safety Advisory Committee, the expert body that advises the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) on matters related to the safety of embryo transfer. Through the OIE’s processes for developing and adopting international standards, the disease control measures identified by the IETS have been incorporated into the Terrestrial Animal Health Code. The basic principles rely on the crucial ethical roles of the embryo collection team and embryo transfer team, under the leadership of approved veterinarians. Decades of experience, with nearly 10 million embryos transferred, have demonstrated the very significant biosecurity advantage that embryo transfer technology has when moving germplasm internationally, provided that the international standards developed by the IETS and adopted by the OIE are strictly followed.
 
Keywords
Animal reproductive biotechnology – Bovines – Cattle – Embryo transfer – In vitro-produced embryo – In vivo-derived embryo – Reproductive technology.