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Embryo Transfer at Donnington Grove

What is embryo transfer?

Equine embryo transfer is an increasingly popular and accessible method of breeding your mare without affecting their competitive career. The procedure involves breeding the donor mare as normal, but at 7-8 days following ovulation, the embryo is transferred to a recipient mare which will carry the pregnancy to term and nurse the foal until weaning.


Embryo transfer not only provides the opportunity to breed more than one foal from your mare each season, but also enables healthy foals to be produced from mares that may otherwise be unable to maintain pregnancy themselves.


How does embryo transfer work?

  1. First, both the donor and recipient mare will undergo pre-breeding assessment. This involves checking the reproductive tract and screening for any contagious disease that could affect fertility.

  2. The donor and recipient mare’s cycles must be synchronised, enabling the recipient mare to receive the embryo, and maintain the pregnancy. Starting this stage early, means that we can adjust their cycles, ensuring synchronisation well before the embryo is implanted, maximising success. 

  3. The donor mare is inseminated. Artificial insemination using fresh, chilled, or frozen semen can be used, and with the appropriate veterinary input, it is a very successful technique.

  4. The embryo is recovered from the donor mare 7-8 days after ovulation. This is done by gentle flushing of the uterus.

  5. The embryo is then carefully transferred into the recipient mare. Ultrasound examination will be performed 7 days post-transfer to confirm the pregnancy. Further scanning will then be performed as required, as with normal equine pregnancies.


If you are interested in embryo transfer as an option for breeding your mare, please contact our equine office on 01635 39039 who will put you in touch with one of our highly experienced stud vets.


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