Decrease in bovine in vitro embryo production efficiency during winter season in a warm-summer Mediterranean climate

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Retrospective analysis of monthly embryo production from December 2011 to May 2015 and its correlation with meteorological data in our geographic zone was made. We had observed that in certain time of the year, in vitro blastocyst production decreases. Accordingly, was examined the association between blastocyst production and climatological parameters. Cleavage rates correlate positively with blastocyst rates (p < .05). Significant differences in cleavage rates between autumn and summer (79.8%; 71.5%), and between winter and autumn (71.8%; 79.8%), were found. Blastocyst production had lower efficiency in June (9 ± 12%) and July (4.9 ± 5.7%), which coincides with winter season. In contrast, higher embryo production was obtained in February (22.2 ± 9.7%), March (22.9 ± 14%) and September (25.2 ± 6.6%), which coincides with autumn and spring season. Similarly, embryo production correlates with meteorological parameters: blastocyst production positively correlates with sunshine hours, maximum temperature and average temperature. Similarly, blastocyst production inversely correlates with total precipitation and days >1 mm precipitation (p < .05). There is a significant decrease in bovine in vitro embryo production efficiency during winter season in our warm-summer Mediterranean climate zone. It remains to be investigated the direct effect of environmental factors on oocyte quality and its impact on in vitro production efficiency.

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