Embryo Plus started as a family practice by husband and wife, Dr Ronnie and Helena dela Rey, in 1980. Their son, Dr. Morné and his wife Dr. Petra joined them in 1994. Dr. Morné specialized in Washington State, U.S.A. in microsurgery (splitting and sexing) of embryos.
Embryo Plus had to lead the way in the then unknown embryo industry. Since then they stayed in touch with the new technologies available in commercial embryo transfer in the world. Embryo Plus grew enormously in staff and facilities to stay ahead in the growing embryo and semen industry in South Africa.
Dr. Ronnie, the MD of EMBRYO PLUS was founder chairman of both official bodies i.e. SAVSEG (South African Veterinary Semen and Embryo Group – 1994-2001) and SASEG (SA Semen and Embryo Group – 1994-1999). He was awarded the South African Veterinary Association’s Boswell Award in 2000 for outstanding service to the Veterinary Profession.
Dr Robert Treadwell joined the company in 1998 and in 2002 became a director of the company.
We employ well trained staff with qualifications ranging from degrees in veterinary science, mathematics and diplomas in veterinary nursing, veterinary technology and agriculture. All further training necessary for embryo and semen work are done at Embryo Plus, Brits.
Embryo Plus operates currently out of 5 registered quarantine centres (in terms of the Livestock Improvement Act) around the country and one center in Kenya. The main registered Embryo and A.I. centre is Embryo Plus, Brits near Onderstepoort, Faculty of Veterinary Science and 30 minutes from Johannesburg, which make logistics easy for travelling, movement of cattle and shipment of embryos and semen around the country and the world.
Embryo Plus, Eastern Cape, is located in the highest concentrated dairy area in the country and hence specializes in embryo work in dairy breeds i.e. Embryo collection and embryo sexing (again Embryo Plus was the first in Africa). Embryo Plus specializes in bovine embryo transfers and semen collection, but work in close collaboration with Ramsem at Bloemfontein, who specializes in A.I. and embryo transfers in sheep and goats.
Embryo Plus specializes in bovine embryo transfers and semen collection. Since Brits is located in the South African bushveld where the indigenous breeds of South Africa occurs, we were the first and have done 90% of all embryo exports of these breeds: Afrikaner, Bonsmara, Nguni and Tuli embryos to Canada and Argentina.
Embryo Plus works in close collaboration with Ramsem at Bloemfontein and Brakfontein Embryo Centre at Bedford, who specializes in A.I. and embryo transfers in sheep and goats. We were associated in exporting Dorper, Merino, Angora and Boergoat embryos to countries like Canada, Germany, Brazil and Australia.
Courses are given to veterinarians in embryo transfers at the centre in Brits, with ongoing back-up for supplies, knowledge and help if necessary. All laboratory technicians used by Embryo Plus are trained in the centre at Brits. Embryo Plus is a member of the International Embryo Transfer Society (IETS) and frequently works in association with numerous embryo centres throughout the world. The high quality of work has proven itself in the international arena.
Therefore Embryo Plus can arrange and support all back-up necessary for imports and exports of embryos, semen and cattle. Ongoing negotiations for protocols will soon open many parts of the world for further exports of South African genetics. We are also associated in many projects in Africa for export and import like Boran embryos which we flushed in a quarantine centre in Kenya to establish the first Boran herds ever in South Africa.
We are in contact with all the superior genetics in the country and as we have a registered quarantine centre in every area of the country it will make transport arrangements very easy. Embryos can be supplied from all SA breeds on request. Since Brits is located in the South African bushveld where the indigenous breeds of South Africa occurs, we were the first and have done 90% of all embryo exports of these breeds: Afrikander, Bonsmara, Nguni and Tuli.
Staying in Africa, the passion for our wildlife prompted us in doing valuable research work on preserving our wildlife. In the mid 1980’s Embryo Plus was the first ever to do embryo flushings on superovulated African Buffalo. Viable embryos were recovered and transferred in Simmental cattle, where pregnancies were created. Because of the success of inner cell mass transfer in sheep and goats, we are pursuing this technique in buffalo and cattle.
We are working with game ranches and breeding systems and using the technologies currently available might create a breakthrough in different species. Other research we are currently doing is flushing Roan Antelope and transferring the embryos to Sable Antelope in order to create more of the rarer Roan Antelope. We are also collecting and freezing semen of numerous antelope species for A.I. Programs. Embryo Plus is also involved in the rest of the livestock industry and worked with the exports of ostriches to Hong Kong and China.