The effect of unilateral ovariectomy on early embryonic survival and embryo development in rabbits


  • R. Peiró Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnología Animal (ICTA), Universitat Politècnica de València
  • M. Gallego Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnología Animal (ICTA), Universitat Politècnica de València Centro de Salud Tendetes, Ricardo Micó 3, 46009 Valencia
  • A. Blasco Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnología Animal (ICTA), Universitat Politècnica de València
  • M.A. Santacreu Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnología Animal (ICTA), Universitat Politècnica de València



early embryo survival, embryo development, fertilisation rate, ovulation rate, unilateral ovariectomy


Unilateral ovariectomy can be used to study uterine capacity in rabbits because an overcrowding of the functional uterine horn is produced. Due to the uterus duplex, the rabbit is the ideal model for such studies. However, this technique may affect embryo survival. The aim of this work is to study the effect of unilateral ovariectomy on early embryo survival and development in rabbit. A total of 101 unilateral ovariectomised females and 52 intact females were compared after slaughter at 30 h post-mating. Early embryo survival was estimated as the ratio between number of embryo recovered and ovulation rate. No differences were found between intact and unilaterally ovariectomised females in this trait. Unilateral ovariectomy did not change embryo development, measured as the number of embryo cells. Variability of embryo development was not affected either. At 30 h post-mating, the majority of embryos (86.2%) were 4-cell stage. Embryo quality was evaluated according to morphological criteria. No difference in embryo quality between intact and unilaterally ovariectomised females was found. Therefore, unilateral ovariectomy performed before puberty in rabbit does not modify early embryo survival and development.


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