Homestead Cattle
Resources: What to Know About
Exporting Semen & Embryos
from North America

        Live cattle born in the USA can export to many countries, but not to the European Union (EU). Canada can export live cattle to the EU (but not if they originated in the USA).
        Frozen bovine genetics can export from Canada or USA to EU and most other countries. Exporting frozen semen or embryos is considerably less expensive and more efficient than it is exporting live cattle. To consider exporting semen or embryos, here are a few things to know about, and resources to keep handy:

  1. Conventional embryo recovery is the use of hormones to super-ovulate a donor cow to produce multiple follicles, breed the donor, and flush the donor to recover the resultant embryos in 7 days. After recovery, embryos can be transferred into recipient cows.

    Embryos can also be cryopreserved (frozen) for use later, banked to preserve valuable/irreplaceable genetics, sold domestically, or sold and exported internationally. Embryos must be certified by the American Embryo Transfer Association (AETA) and approved by the USDA to meet all of these requirements. Donor testing and residency (certified location) may be required prior to embryo collection, at the collection, and/or after collection.

  2. In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is the process of creating embryos from oocytes (unfertilized egg cells) by fertilizing them with semen in a Petri dish. Oocytes are first collected from the ovaries of donors by ultrasound-guided follicular aspiration. They are then matured in a Petri dish and fertilized 20-24 hours later. Conventional, sexed frozen, or reverse-sorted semen may be used for fertilization. Oocytes then develop in an incubator for seven days, at which point the resulting viable embryos are transferred into recipients. If of exceptional quality, they can be frozen, and usually result in about a 50% conception rate in recips (about the same as fresh fresh transferred embryos). Not all countries will accept imported IVF embryos--some countries only allow conventionally recovered ET embryos.

  3. International market for embryos: An embryologist at Colorado Genetics Inc. in Loveland, Colo., Darrel DeGrofft, DVM, says, there is a growing demand for frozen embryos to sell to other clients or for export. “We get more inquiries every year from various countries in South America, Europe, Russia, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and others for frozen embryos. As we look at the international scene, there is an increasing demand for U.S. genetics,” DeGrofft says. Embryos are a bio-secure method for exporting seedstock genetics. A person can ship embryos even when importations of live animals are prohibited. “We know of no known diseases that have been transmitted from the donor cows to the recipient cows by exporting embryos. There are strict regulations for preparing embryos for export and there is virtually no risk for disseminating disease. When a producer is selecting semen for a mating to produce exportable embryos, they use NAAB / CSS (Certified Semen Services) approved semen. They also use a company that has an accredited veterinarian in the American Embryo Transfer Association (AETA) to collect and prepare those embryos for export,” DeGrofft says. The collection and the storage facility must also be certified. Shipping embryos to other countries has advantages over sending live cattle, besides disease issues. “The embryo transfer calves are born and raised in the local environment so they are often much better adapted than any animals that could be sent from the U.S. to a foreign country.”

  4. Semen needs to meet CSS requirements (be internationally exportable to Australia, UK, EU etc) to create embryos. The bull stud must verify that the semen will qualify for embryo export. Semen stored on the farm could lose its certification to produce exportable embryos.

  5. The full cane code and collection code of the straw of semen is required for export documentation. It helps if the semen and the donor eggs are from cattle registered with these uniform, internationally accepted Breed Codes and other proper identification.

  6. Every country has different import / export requirements. We work directly with any members who want to raise miniature or homestead breeds of livestock available for export. We are an email or phone call away; we provide help until the program or project is successful.



Live Animal Exports from the U.S. > International Regulations (IRegs) for LIVE ANIMAL Exports (Oct 16, 2019):

Live Animal Export to European Union - (Jul 5, 2019):

EU* Bovine Frozen Genetics (Semen & Embryo) Imports

The following countries have bovine semen & embryo collection and storage centres approved by the European Commission:

North America > bovine semen & embryo EU APROVED collection and storage centres:

Canada EU-Approved semen & embryo collection & storage centers:

United States EU-Approved semen & embryo collection & storage centers:



National Association of Animal Breeders (NAAB) & Certified Semen Services (CSS) DATABASES
NAAB-ICAR certified A.I. Studs
CSS certified A.I. Centers

NAAB member certified Frozen Genetics Companies
NAAB Uniform Coding System: identifies semen by providing a unique code number for each bull. Certified Semen Services (CSS) requires all participating AI businesses to label each breeding unit of semen produced by them with the elements of the NAAB Uniform Code.

The International Committee for Animal Recording (ICAR) is an International Non-Governmental Organisation (INGO) which was formed in 1951, in Rome. ICAR strives to be the leading global provider of Guidelines, Standards and Certification for animal identification, animal recording and animal evaluation. ICAR wants to improve the profitability, and sustainability of farm animal production by:

Interbull, formed in 1988, is an international bull evaluation service that collects data from 22 countries to produce genetic evaluations of dairy bulls: Ayrshire, Brown Swiss, Guernsey, Jersey, Holstein, Milking Fleckvieh, Milking Shorthorn, and Red & Whites. Interbull is a subcommittee of ICAR and regulated by ICAR.

Council on Dairy Cattle Breeding (CDCB) performs an official evaluation tri-annually and distributes the results to Interbull. Interbull then combines all data received from different countries and applies a scientific method called Multiple Across Country Evaluation (MACE) to calculate International Genetic Evaluations. USA & Canada provide these international Interbull evaluation reports to the public on

Transporting Cattle Internationally (pdf by Herefords Go Global)

Guidelines & Recommendations for Embryo Straw Labeling, American Embryo Transfer Association (AETA)

Official Animal Identification Number (AIN) Radio Frequency (RF) Devices with "840" Prefix (September 5, 2019) USDA Official Eartags, etc. HCA and ILR members can get AIN numbers using our official International Livestock Registries number, instead of getting a private residence location number.

Data Standards for Interstate Certificates of Veterinary Inspection (ICVI), USDA / APHIS Veterinary Services, July 2012.


go home little cow

go home little cow

Bucking V Outfit LLC and
Homestead Cattle Association,
Bucking V Outfit, LLC. enterprises, circa 1990
published online: November 2019 by Vintage Press
©some content shared with:
author: Donna Grace