Noelle has been involved in embryo transfer since 2005, and has been delighted to have worked with many high profile sport horse mares around the world.
The most relevant application of Embryo Transfer (ET) is the production of offspring from competition mares in work which improves the genetics of equine athletes. This seems like an ideal scenario, when previously mares were only bred when they were older, retired and less fertile, reducing the chance of producing offspring.
ET is not as always as easy as it sounds, and sometimes owners expectations exceed what can be achieved. Exercise, heat and stress can disrupt ovarian function while frequent joint medications can be seen to reduce the overall fertility of mares and stallions. Furthermore, some disruption to exercise schedule should be expected, although every effort is made to plan breeding around the mare's work schedule.
The process of ET involves the donor mare being bred with fresh, chilled or frozen semen. Fertilisation takes place within the mare's oviduct and the developing embryo is present in the mare's uterus by the sixth day following fertilisation. Once the embryo is in the uterus, it can be flushed out using special tubing a cup and a filter, usually on day 7-8 after ovulation depending on mare age, time of year and type of semen used. The gaps in the filter are smaller than the smallest embryo, therefore the cup will catch and retain the embryo during the flushing process. The contents of the cup is examined under the microscope and the embryo, which is approximately the size of a spec of dust, is located, washed and held in a special media until the recipient mare is prepared for transfer. It is ideal to select a couple of mares as recipients for each donor mare flush. This increases the chances of perfect synchronicity and provides us with a choice, so we can select the best recipient on the day to receive the embryo, maximising pregnancy rates. ET is widely available throughout Australia, however a high level of skill is needed to achieve high transfer and pregnancy rates.
Noelle has a wealth of experience in undertaking ET whether it be in a purpose built facility or at an owners private facility. Success rates are closely related to environmental surroundings and her ability to keep quality control at the highest possible level. Alternatively your mare can be sent to our facility to be bred and flushed, or 'walked in' on the day after being bred at home.
For further inquiries and pricing please contact the clinic on 0437 420 581.
Embryos can be frozen using a method called vitrification, to be stored indefinitely for the preservation of genetics or until recipients are available for transfer. It involves transferring a small embryo through varying concentrations of antifreeze, before submerging it into liquid nitrogen. The size of the embryo is critical for success using this method, therefore it is important to have a plan B (stand-by recipient) if the embryo is big for its age when its flushed, as its chances of surviving the freezing/thawing processes will be reduced. It is realistic to expect a lower pregnancy rate from the transfer of previously frozen embryos, however this can be limited by using an experienced technician.