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Dr. Cara Wessels, Dr. Sam Prien and Dr. Lindsay Penrose have developed a non-invasive and non-subjective embryo selection method and device. This novel method measures embryo buoyancy to predict embryo viability, developmental potential, biochemical content, survival of cryopreservation and possibly even sex. The device does not harm the embryo, delivers feedback in approximately one minute and can be used in the lab or chute-side. Wessels states “we are improving pregnancy outcomes of embryo transfer and IVF by helping the embryologist select the healthiest embryo for transfer.” The team tested this method on mouse, sheep and cattle embryos in Dr. Sam Prien’s laboratory at the Texas Tech University Health Science Center.

“Methods to advance assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) contributes to my overall goal as an animal scientist to promote the efficiency of animal production and sustainability. IVF and embryo transfer are mainstream procedures in cattle breeding programs, but producers report these procedures only result in pregnancy 50% of the time. Any method to improve this pregnancy rate benefits the cattle industry” said Wessels.

This technology is being commercialized by Embryotics, a biotech company in Texas. Embryotics debuted the technology at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association trade show in New Orleans, LA. Embryotics is currently participating in programs affiliated with the Texas Tech University Innovation Hub.

For more information, contact Dr. Cara Wessels at or 281-728-0491.