Scientist team working on IVF to save northern white rhino

Tinuku - The international research team aims to save the endangered northern white rhino using in vitro fertilization (IVF). The report shows how scientists managed to extract sperm from the last living rhino before he died in March 2018 in Kenya.

Today only two remaining female northern white rhino are infertile where scientists have to combine samples with a female southern white rhino to create a viable hybrid embryo. A number of steps still need to be made to the stage where the female rhino can be inseminated.

Tinuku Scientist team working on IVF to save northern white rhino

"The rhino averages 2,000 kg, so they have a very difficult to access channel of reproduction. Professor Hildebrandt developed a 150 centimeter long OPU device to guide the needle to the right place using a trans-rectal route," says Professor Marilyn Renfree of the School of BioSciences at University of Melbourne.

The first step is to take eggs and sperm as one of the most challenging. The next challenge is to transfer embryos stored in frozen storage to a replacement white rhino to form and perform pregnancy. The researchers also plan to extract oocytes or ovarian cells from two living white female rhinos.