Embryo Transfer is the act of removing a 6-8 day embryo from the uterus of a donor mare and transferring that embryo into the uterus of a recipient mare. This process requires that mares are cycled in parallel so that hormonal levels are consistent in both mares. Donor mares can be as young as 3 years of age. Our staff members are experienced in transferring embryos and have been doing so for over 15 years.
Our pregnancy rate for transferred embryos is 80-85%.
The benefits of embryo transfer are well known. Valuable mares can produce multiple embryos in one season. Performance mares can continue competing and transfers can be done around their show career. Fertility of older mares may be impaired, reducing the chances of getting in foal. Embryo transfer is often used to produce foals from these mares and allow the genetic potential of the mares to be continued. Mares unable to carry their own foals to term (for various reasons: such as lameness, cervical tears, systemic health conditions that preclude pregnancy) are also good candidates for embryo transfer. Embryo transfer can be used on mares late in the season so the next year the mare can be bred earlier. Embryos can be recovered from mares with uterine based infertility issues. Additionally, embryos can be frozen and shipped over-seas allowing horse owners to reach new markets around the world.
The recipient mare (the mare the embryo is transferred into) is arguably one of the most important factors in an embryo transfer program. The ideal recipient mare is 3-10 years old (older mares can be used if proven to be good breeders), in good health, and of good temperament. Recipient mares come in all shapes and sizes, although we typically try to ensure the recipient mare is of a similar height and build to the donor mare. Recipients must have a clean reproductive history and their uterus must be healthy. Recipient mares come from all sources, they can be mares with mild lameness issues or perhaps mares that simply needed a new home. It is also important that recipient mares show no major vices; although the foal has no genetic connection with the recipient mother, the recipient nurtures the foal until weaning so has influence over the foal’s initial learned behavior. These mares can be both maiden and non-maiden and although the birth weights of foals born from maiden recipient mothers can be lower, these foals have generally caught up in size by weaning.
There is a short window of time in which an embryo must be flushed from the donor mare and transferred to the recipient mare. The recipients cycle must closely match the donors. Medication are used to control the recipient and adjust her to match the donor. Typically 5-8 recipients are synchronized for each donor mare. The recipient mare is carefully chosen to receive the embryo from the donor mare. Each mare that is synchronized is examined in detail to identify her suitability for receiving the donors embryo before the mare is chosen. All recipient mares are supplemented with progesterone after receiving a transferred embryo. After a successful transfer, the recipient mare must be closely monitored to insure that she carries the embryo to full term. Our recipients are checked in foal at 11 days, 14 days, 21 days, 28 days then once per week until leaving the facility. After 30 days and after cleared by the veterinarian, the recipient mare is free to go home.
Owners of valuable mares can now utilize their mares to generate income in much the same way that stallion owners do. Valuable mares can produce embryos multiple times each breeding season. These valuable embryos can be immediately transferred or frozen for future use. All donor mares are kept in private stalls or private paddocks (unless the owner request their personal horses be housed together in a paddock). All our donor mares are cared for with the strictest attention to detail. Individual nutritional modifications and or supplementation’s are provided for each mare if needed. Various environments are available for your mare(s) depending on her needs. A low stress environment creates better fertility and improved fertility results in pregnancies. A free exerciser is available if fitness needs to be maintained while she is staying with us. Daily turnout is available for the mare(s) if so desired. Regular grooming and bathing is a part of our routine care. Specially bedded stalls located close to the palpation stocks can be arranged for mares with orthopedic conditions necessitating such requirements. It is our goal that your mare is cared for with respect and love during her stay, and that when she is returned to you it is in the best condition possible.
Performance Equine Vets also offers a transported embryo transfer service where an embryo, harvested and flushed out of your mare by an experienced professional, is shipped to Performance Equine Vets on the day of the flushing and transferred into a synchronized recipient mare.
In order to be successful, this process requires good communication between the veterinarian or individual breeding and flushing the mare and the transfer facility. It is important that the individual breeding the mare inform us when the mare is in heat as well as the day of ovulation, so that a suitable recipient mare may be prepared. Transportation arrangements to have the embryo sent to our facility should be made in advance. As soon as the mare is flushed, please contact us to report the results, so we can gather flight information and make arrangements for pick up. We operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Don’t hesitate to contact us over the weekend to provide information on transported embryos.
Embryos are generally collected from the donor mare on day 7-8 after ovulation. The first pregnancy check on the recipient mare is on day 11 of gestation (4 days after the transfer) and a definitive ultrasound for pregnancy is done at day 16 of gestation (9 days after transfer).
The drawbacks of this alternative are the risks involved with shipping an embryo (ie. delivery issues with carrier services, weather delays, ect). Also, the pregnancy rates may be reduced slightly when an embryo is not transferred immediately after collection. The advantage of shipping embryos is that the embryo can be harvested from the mare by veterinarians on the farm where the mare normally lives and then the embryo can be transported to our facility where the recipients are housed. Some mares have medical conditions that preclude their transportation where this may be of great benefit. Others mares perhaps have limited time available for breeding due to their show career. We are here to accommodate most scenarios. If you have special requests or needs, please ask and we will try our best to assist you.
Owners seeking to export Embryos to other countries must adhere to strict guidelines. The ability to export semen and embryos gives owners the ability to sell into the global marketplace. Destination requirements are specific to the country chosen. Please contact us today to discuss your options.
“The critical factor in any embryo transfer program always lies in the skill and experience
of the veterinarian or professional whom does the transfer of the embryo.”
– Click here for Routine Reproductive Pricing
– Click here for Equine Fertility Institute Pricing
– Click here for New Client Form
– Click here for General Check In
– Click here for Foaling Mare Check In
– Click here for Embryo Transfer Pricing & Contract
– Click here for the link to Normal Foaling Events
– Click here for the Mare Foaling Date Calculator, simply put in the ovulation date of your mare and find out her due date along with scheduled vaccinations and checkups!
– Click here for the link to Foal Vaccination Date Calculator, simply put in the date your foal was born and find out when vaccinations are due!
We are always available for a consultation.
If you have any questions and would like to speak with a Veterinarian, please call us at 803-641-0644
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