Modern medical advances in reproduction allow mares to be breed at an ideal younger age without interrupting their competition or training schedule through embryo transfer. Embryo transfer is commonly employed for mares that need to be available for competition, those with health issues that prevent them from foaling, or for mares that need to produce several foals in a season.
The following steps are taken in an embryo transfer:
- The donor mare and stallion, who hold the genetics of the future foal, are bred through artificial insemination.
- After the seventh or eighth day of pregnancy, the donor mare is ready for the embryo flush procedure.
- A lavage of the donor mare’s uterus is performed where the fluid and embryo pass through a tubing and embryonic filter system to collect the embryo.
- The embryo is identified under microscope and stored in an enriched medium until time of transfer.
- A recipient mare is chosen based on reproductive soundness and synchrony with the donor mare’s reproductive cycle.
- The embryo is transferred to the recipient mare’s uterus at Palm Beach Equine Clinic or shipped to the client’s preferred breeding facility where the surrogate mare is implanted with the embryo.
- The surrogate mare is checked for pregnancy when the embryo is 14 days old or 6-7 days after the embryo transfer. The surrogate mare is diagnosed as pregnant at 35 days gestation and carries the foal to term.