Export animal semen, ova and embryos: special rules

You need a certificate to export animal semen, ova, and embryos (germplasm).

What you need to do to export animal semen, ova, and embryos (germplasm) depends on whether you’re exporting:

There are different rules if you’re exporting germplasm from endangered animals.

Some countries may have import rules for certain goods. You can check by talking to your importer or getting help researching your export market.

Within the EU

To move germplasm within the EU, you must:

  • apply for an Intra Trade Animal Health certificate (ITAHC)
  • register your premises

Apply for an ITAHC

  1. Nominate an official veterinarian to inspect your goods. To find one, ask your local vet or email

  2. Register with the TRACES system if you’ve not used it before.

  3. Sign in to TRACES and fill in the details of the germplasm you’re exporting.

  4. Contact the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) (DAERA in Northern Ireland). Tell them that the ITAHC has been created and give them details of your official veterinarian.

  5. Your certificate will be sent to your official veterinarian within 7 working days. If your official veterinarian doesn’t receive the certificate, contact the APHA Centre for International Trade Carlisle.

  6. Include the certificate when you export your consignment.

Instead of using TRACES, you can fill in form EXA31 (PDF, 829KB, 7 pages) and send it to the APHA Centre for International Trade Carlisle.

Read the guidance notes (PDF, 104KB, 6 pages) if you’re not sure how to fill in the form.

Your ITAHC will be valid for 10 days after the inspection.

If there isn’t an ITAHC for your species of animal, contact APHA (or DEARA in Northern Ireland).

There’s no fee for the certificate but you’ll be charged for your vet’s time.

Register your premises

You also need to register your premises to export within the EU. This is the place you keep the semen, ova or embryos in the UK.

Contact the Centre for International Trade to arrange this.

Outside the EU

You will usually need to complete an export health certificate (EHC) and some supporting documents to be able to export germplasm.

There are some types of germplasm you cannot export, or cases where you don’t need a certificate. If you cannot find the EHC you need, contact APHA.

To find out if you need an EHC and apply, follow these steps.

  1. The Export Health Certificate form finder helps you find and fill out the EHC and other supporting forms you will need to export your germplasm. If you are exporting from Northern Ireland, contact your local DAERA office. Most EHCs will also have guidance documents that give information on how to fill out the certificate.

  2. Fill out the EHC and supporting forms and email them to the APHA address provided in the forms.

  3. In most cases you will need to nominate an official veterinarian (OV) to inspect your germplasm and sign the certificate.

  4. APHA will send your EHC to your OV within 7 working days.

  5. The OV will check the animal meets the health requirements of the destination country, complete the EHC and sign. The completed EHC will go with the germplasm, and the OV will send a copy to APHA.

To find an OV you can:

There is no fee for processing the EHC but you will need to pay for the OV’s services.

Use the most up to date EHC

EHC’s are sometimes updated when export agreements are changed. So make sure you are using the latest version of a certificate. The EHC form finder will always have the latest version.

Out of date forms will be rejected and cause delays to your exports.

You can sign up for alerts on the form finder, so that you get an email when a form is updated.

Germplasm from endangered animals

Use the Species+ tool to search for the animal that the germplasm came from. Check which annex (A, B, C or D) it’s classified as under EU wildlife trade regulations.

What you need to do depends on whether you’re exporting within the EU or outside the EU.

If Species+ says the animal is banned, you can’t export its germplasm.

Within the EU

If the animal is classed as B, C or D, you don’t need to do anything.

If it’s classed as Annex A, you must apply for an Article 10 certificate unless you’re exporting germplasm for scientific research or other non-commercial reasons.

Apply for an Article 10 certificate

Fill in either:

You can use the guidance notes (PDF, 606KB, 15 pages) to help you.

Email it to or post it to the Centre for International Trade Bristol.

Include any supporting documents that show you acquired the product legally, for example:

  • a copy of the import permit
  • a previous Article 10 certificate (use the yellow copy)

The certificate costs £31.

You should get your certificate within 15 working days.

Outside the EU

If it’s classed as Annex A, B or C, you need a CITES export permit.

If it’s classed as D, check the animal’s CITES listing in the Species+ tool. If it’s in Appendix III, you’ll need a CITES export permit. Otherwise, you don’t need to do anything.

Apply for a CITES permit

Fill in either:

You can use the guidance notes (PDF, 739KB, 13 pages) to help you.

If you’re re-exporting goods, include a CITES import permit to prove it legally entered the EU.

Email or post the completed form to the Centre for International Trade Bristol.

A permit costs £63 (or £37 to re-export). You should receive it within 15 working days.

If you’re exporting as part of conservation work, you might be able to get a fee waiver through:

Use the guidance notes (PDF, 290KB, 2 pages) if you’re unsure how to fill it in.

Published 9 November 2016
Last updated 5 November 2018 + show all updates
  1. EHC List updated
  2. Export Health Certificate list updated
  3. EHC List updated
  4. First published.