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Saving Rhinos With IVF

With only two northern white rhinos remaining in the world, the population is quickly moving towards extinction. In an effort to save the species, scientists at the BioRescue Project used IVF to successfully impregnate a northern white rhino for the first time. The two remaining northern white rhinos, who live under supervision in Kenya, are both infertile females, making both of them ineligible for IVF. Scientists collected sperm from a southern white rhino in Austria, and an egg from a southern white rhino in Belgium. The samples were then brought to Italy, where cells from 12 deceased northern white rhinos have been stored in liquid nitrogen. The in vitro fertilization process happened in Italy to create a northern white rhino embryo, which was implanted in a surrogate mother rhino in Kenya. The process was a first of its kind international effort that demonstrated how fertility science can be used in animal conservation efforts, and the BioRescue Project hopes to continue using IVF to save the northern white rhino species.  

Image via CNN

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