First litter of puppies born by in vitro fertilization


They're not only adorable - they're a scientific breakthrough. For the first time, a litter of puppies have been born using in vitro fertilization, say Cornell University researchers.

A female dog fertilized with 19 embryos gave birth to seven healthy puppies, according to a statement from Cornell's College of Veterinary Medicine. Two puppies are from a beagle mother and a cocker spaniel father, and the other five are the offspring of two pairs of beagle fathers and mothers.

"IVF was first done in people back in the mid 1970s," Alex Travis, associate professor of reproductive biology at the Baker Institute for Animal Health, told CBS News. Yet until now, scientists hadn't been able to perform it successfully in dogs, despite many years of trying, he said.

For in vitro fertilization, a mature egg is fertilized in the lab with a sperm, and an embryo is produced. The embryo is then transferred into a host female at the right time in her reproductive cycle.