Smith (1986) identified the theoretical potential of multiple ovulation and embryo transfer (MOET) to increase the rate of genetic improvement within nucleus sheep breeding flocks by upto 100%. The likely genetic benefits of MOET arise from the potential to overcome limits to female reproduction thus allowing increased selection intensity and reduced generation intervals among females. The present study was conducted to evaluate the potential for MOET from 18 month-old maiden ewes (gimmers) in comparison with aged donor ewes.
In October 1991, a group of twenty 18-month old ewes and twenty aged ewes (3.5 year-old) were synchronised into oestrus using intravaginal pessaries containing 45 mg Cronolone (Chronogest, Intervet Laboratories Ltd.) inserted for 12 days. Superovulation was achieved using 20 i.u. of ovine follicle stimulating hormone (Ovagen, Immuno-Chemical Products N.Z. Ltd) given in eight equal doses at 12-hourly intervals starting 58 hours before progestagen pessary withdrawal.