India now has 6 Banni IVF calves

New Delhi, Nov 10 (IANS): Days after its very first Banni IVF calf, India now has a total of six of them — all from the same farm in Gujarat — a step forward in the artificial insemination programme for the cows and buffaloes in the country.

In this case, the artificial insemination involved Ovum Pick-Up (OPU) and aspiration processes for the in vitro fertilisation (IVF) of Banni Buffaloes.

It was on October 23 that India’s first IVF baby was born at a private farm at Dhanej near Gir-Somnath Sanctuary. These next five too are at the same farm.

“This is one of its kind initiatives by the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying (MFAHD) that upholds the potential to give a significant boost to national dairy production and it is imperative that in today’s context, we conserve our indigenous cattle, as the milk given by them contain higher nutritional value to fight diseases,” Union Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying Minister Parshottam Rupala had then said.

The scientists aspirated three Banni Buffaloes of Sushila agro farms of Vinay L. Wala of Dhanej in Somnath district of Gujarat. Explaining the details, a scientist said, “We subjected 29 oocytes (egg cells) to an intervaginal culture device (IVC) from these three Banni buffaloes. Total 20 oocytes from one of them were subjected to IVC, which resulted in 11 embryos. Embryo transfer (ET) was done with nine embryos, which resulted in 3 IVF pregnancies.

“Total 5 Oocytes from the second donor resulted in 5 embryos (100 per cent). Of the five embryos, four were selected for the ET, which resulted in two pregnancies. From the 4 oocytes of the third donor, two embryos were developed, and the embryo transfer resulted in one pregnancy,” the scientist said.

Overall, 18 embryos were developed from 29 oocytes while the ET of 15 embryos resulted in six Banni pregnancies (40 per cent pregnancy rate).

Officials from the Ministry said, earlier Prime Minister Narendra Modi had talked about the Banni buffalo breed during his visit to Kutch region of Gujarat on December 15, 2020. “The very next day, i.e., December 16, 2020, Ovum Pick-Up (OPU) and aspiration processes for the in vitro fertilisation (IVF) of Banni Buffaloes were planned,” they said.

“Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying (MFAHD) congratulates farmer Vinay L Vala of Sushila Agro Farm, Dhanej, Gir-Somnath in Gujarat,” the Ministry said in a tweet.

The Ministry officials said, this was possible due to the hard work of national mentor, IVF labs, Dr Shyam Jhawar.