Embryo transfer is an increasingly popular artificial breeding technique used in horses. It has several advantages over a mare carrying her own foal. It allows owners to breed from a mare while continuing to ride and compete her. It is possible to get multiple foals per year from one mare. It also allows an owner to get a foal from an older mare that is no longer able to carry a foal to term.
The donor mare is bred and the early embryo is flushed out of the uterus and transferred into a recipient mare. The recipient mare then carries the foetus to term, and raises the foal to weaning. Donor mares are only required to stay at the clinic for a short time, allowing them to continue their regular training schedules if necessary.
At Ovens Valley Equine we supply the recipient mares which are carefully selected for their fertility and temperament. These mares reside on our excellent grazing land beside the Ovens River. Once a recipient mare has received an embryo she is monitored closely for the first 45 days to assess success of the embryo transfer procedure and to ensure normal development of the embryo. After a normal 45 day pregnancy scan the recipient is leased to the donor mare owner. She leaves to go to the donor mare owner’s home and returns to Ovens Valley Equine after the foal has been weaned.
It is important to understand that success rates with embryo transfer are significantly better when semen of high fertility is used. Fresh or chilled semen tends to have better success rates than frozen. Frozen semen is still successfully used in embryo transfer programs, particularly when that semen has a history of good pregnancy rates when used for artificial insemination.
Although embryo transfer is an excellent option for the older mare that can no longer carry her own foal it is important to recognize that older mares tend to give lower embryo recovery rates and poorer quality embryos. Therefore success rates are also reduced compared to embryo transfer in young, fertile mares.
Learn more and contact us if you are interested in Embryo Transfer.