HERMISTON, Ore. — An international company pioneering new techniques of in-vitro fertilization for cows has its headquarters in Hermiston.
The company has been operating in Hermiston since 2015 but in August re-branded from Cogent IVF to Vytelle. The company provides services to the region from its Hermiston headquarters but also has sites in Idaho, California, Texas, Paraguay, Uruguay and South Africa.
Business director Luciano Bonilla said Vytelle is unique in several ways, including its “cutting-edge” hormone-free collection process for unfertilized eggs. The lack of stimulating hormones is easier on the animals, allows for weekly collection and requires no shot schedule.
Farmers and dairies using in-vitro fertilization can benefit from multiple calves born per year that are the biological offspring off their highest-producing milk cows, or animals that are superior in other ways.
“Naturally, one cow can give one calf per year,” Bonilla said. “If they use this technique, they can get hundreds.”
Farmers and dairies using Vytelle’s services choose their best cows for harvest of unfertilized eggs, known as oocytes, which can be done by Vytelle technicians on the farm or at a collection location they have on GT Land & Cattle property. The process takes 10 to 15 minutes, after which the oocytes are taken to the Vytelle lab at 80383 N. Highway 395 and combined with sperm from a bull of the farmer’s choosing, using human-grade IVF equipment.
Vytelle technicians then grow the embryos in special incubators and a rotation serums over a seven-day period before freezing the embryos using a process unique to the company, or immediately impregnating the desired number of cows.
Eight people total work out of the Hermiston office. Aline Bonilla, the research and development laboratory manager, said clients of the Hermiston lab come from all over Oregon, but they serve an especially high number of dairies from the Tillamook area.
Aline and Luciano are originally from Brazil and came to the United States for Ph.D. study and work. While they previously worked in Wisconsin for Vytelle’s parent company WheatSheaf Group, Aline said there were partnerships the company had in the Columbia Basin area that made sense for them to start what was then Cogent IVF in Hermiston instead of Wisconsin.
She said while most bovine IVF companies use a complicated pricing structure that charges at different junctures, Vytelle’s production rate is so high that it only charges farms and dairies for the number of embryos it successfully creates.
“They pay for what they get,” she said.
For more information about Vytelle, visit vitelle.com or call 866-689-3477.