In gilts ovulation occurs over a 4 to 8-hour period, with 70% of the ova being shed over a relatively short span of time. These oocytes supposedly give rise to more developed embryos at Days 10 to 12 which advance the uterine environment and reduce survival rates of less developed embryos because of an asynchronous environment. The aim of this experiment was to reduce embryo mortality by influencing the duration and pattern of ovulation. Crossbred gilts (n=98) were bred at their first observed estrus after being exposed to boars at 200 days of age. Estrus detection was carried out daily at 0000, 0800 and 1600 hours. All gilts were artificially inseminated with fresh semen, with a minimum of 2.7 billion spermatozoa, at both 16 and 32 hours after detection of estrus. Gilts were randomly assigned to one of the following treatments at detection of estrus: 1) 500 IU (2 ml) chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) injected intravenously at the onset of estrus (n=22); 2) 16 microg (4 ml) gonadotrophin releasing hormone (GnRH) injected intravenously at the onset of estrus (n=25); 3) 11.5 microg estrogen added to the semen at the time of AI (n=25); 4) control, untreated gilts (n=26). All gilts were slaughtered at Day 30 of gestation (Day 0=day of detected estrus). The mean (+/-SEM) number of ovulations in pregnant gilts per treatment was 13.0+/-0.52, 12.6+/-0.51, 13.6+/-0.54 and 13.3+/-0.52, while the mean (+/-SEM) number of normal embryos per treatment was 10.3+/-0.67, 10.5+/-0.66, 10.3+/-0.69 and 10.5+/-0.67 for hCG, GnRH, estrogen and control groups, respectively, for an embryonic survival rate of 80+/-4.2%, 83+/-4.1%, 74+/-4.3% and 79+/-4.2% in pregnant gilts. If nonpregnant gilts are included, the embryonic survival rate for treatments 1 to 4 was 76+/-7.0%, 73+/-6.5%, 60+/-6.5%, and 64+/-6.4%, respectively. There was no significant difference between treatments for any of these variables. There was no evidence that administration of hCG, or GnRH at the onset of estrus, or the addition of estrogen to semen improved embryonic survival in gilts by Day 30 in this experiment.
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