An egg to end extinction – First successful rhino pregnancy by embryo transfer builds hope

Posted on 27 May 2024 By Louise Bell

While there are many successful efforts to advance assisted reproduction processes for rhino, such as from The South African Veterinary Association, there has been a significant breakthrough on this front. 

Unsplash/Keith Markilie

BioResue, an organisation that specialises in helping innovate reproduction technology to help save endangered species, has achieved a remarkable feat. With their special interest in saving the northern white rhino from extinction, they have successfully administered an IVF pregnancy by inseminating a southern white rhino.A southern white rhino was used in order to conduct the experiment to receive results so it can be replicated on the northern white rhino.

As there are a very limited number of specifically the northern white rhino, this process has become a beacon of hope to preserve the future of this majestic species. With a laboratory crafted embryo, scientists have achieved the first viable embryo transfer pregnancy after 13 unsuccessful tries.

The pregnant southern white rhino was located in Kenya where the surrogate mother had a healthy pregnancy for 70 days. She, unfortunately, perished due to no fault of the surrogacy procedure. She contracted a deadly bacteria found in tainted soil.

These successful results, however, have scientists optimistic for the future of a successful artificial reproduction procedure of the northern white rhino.

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