The aim of the present investigation was to improve maturation, fertilisation and blastocyst production rates by adding insulin (10 μg /ml), selenium (10 ng /ml) or transferring (10 μg /ml) individually and in different combinations to in vitro culture media. The experiment was divided into three parts with the additives being included to (A) the maturation medium where effects on maturation rates and the subsequent development of bovine oocytes were measured, (B) the fertilisation medium, assessing fertilisation rates and further development and (C) the culture medium where bovine embryo development was evaluated. Selenium, when added to maturation medium, significantly (p < 0.01) improved maturation rates (80.4% vs. 61.8%), fertilisation rates (68.0% vs. 58.4%) and the percentage of blastocyst produced (24.6% vs. 11.5%). None of the treatments had a beneficial effect on fertilisation rate or blastocysts production rate when added to the fertilisation medium. Incorporated of transferrin or transferrin in combination with insulin and selenium in the culture medium, significantly (p < 0.05) increased the percentage of blastocysts produced (35.3% and 31.5% vs. 18.7%). Transferrin also significantly (p < 0.05) increased the percentage of blastocysts that hatched (21.9% vs. 14.2%), indicating an improvement in the viability of the blastocysts produced. By adding selenium to the maturation medium and transferrin to the culture medium the in vitro production of bovine blastocysts is improved.
"Experientia docet" - Experience is the best teacher