Equine Embryo Transfer

Montana Equine’s team has years of experience and advanced training in Equine Reproductive Care. Beyond routine artificial insemination, we also offer advanced reproductive techniques including embryo transfer. Our local recipient herd is composed of mares that are individually screened and closely managed. This ensures that each donor mare will have the best recipient ready and waiting for her embryo. In addition, we work closely with other farms and hospitals to facilitate implantation at other facilities.

Our Mares

Are screened for reproductive health prior to entering our program.

Are easy to handle.

Are maintained on a regular deworming and vaccination program.

Always fed to a high standard.

Who Uses ET?

Embryo transfer is utilized across many disciplines and breeds:

Diverse Breeds

  • Quarter Horses
  • Saddlebreds
  • Morgans
  • Arabians
  • Warmbloods
  • Standardbreds
  • Gypsy Vanners
  • Appaloosas
  • Paints
  • And more

Diverse Disciplines

  • Racing
  • Reining
  • Cutting
  • Halter
  • Show Jumping
  • Pleasure Class
  • Three Day Event
  • Saddle Seat
  • Dressage
  • And more

They all have one thing in common: producing exceptional foals with the help of surrogate mothers.

Why Use ET?

The reasons are as varied as the donor mares themselves . . .

Inability To Carry To Term – Older mares have age-related problems such as poor uterine environment, cervical tears, soundness problems etc, any of which may prevent them from carrying a foal. Some younger mares may be unable to carry a foal due to injury, physical condition or poor fertility.

Performance Career – Embryo transfer allows a mare to produce foals without interrupting her performance career. Early season and well-timed mid-season transfers can work around race and show schedules.

Multiple Foals – Some breeds allow a mare owner to register more than one foal for a given year. Or, a mare could produce foals for more than one breed registry.

Late-foaling – Embryo transfer allows a late foaling mare to produce, yet still be available for an early breeding date the following year.

Reduced Risk – An owner may not want a particular mare to go through the stress or risk of carrying and delivering her own foal. With embryo transfer, the recipient mare takes that natural responsibility.

The End Result Remains the Same: Special Foals With Two Mothers.

How does it work?

Donor Mare – Embryo transfer begins with breeding the donor mare to semen from the chosen stud. Bred as usual, the donor is monitored daily using ultrasound to establish the exact date of ovulation.

Recipient Mare – Recipient mares (the ones “receiving” the embryo) are also monitored with ultrasound, and synchronized to prepare them to receive the donated embryo around day 7 of pregnancy.

The Flush – Seven days after the ovulation date, the donor mare’s uterus is flushed. This timing maximizes the chance of recovering an embryo at the ideal age. The fluid from the uterus is run through a special filter designed to catch the embryo.

Embryo Recovery – The flushed embryo is identified under a microscope. A transferable embryo is between 6 and 8 days old. At 5 days, the embryo is not yet in the mares uterus and cannot be flushed. At 9 days, the embryo becomes too large and fragile to handle. The prime 7-day embryo is approximately ¼ to ¾ millimeters in diameter. It is visible to the well-trained naked eye.

Transfer or Shipment – If the donor mare is bred and flushed at Montana Equine, the embryo can be transferred into a waiting recipient mare or even prepared for immediate shipment. The pregnancy rates for shipped and on-site transfers are about the same.

The Beauty of Embryo Transfer – Genetically intact at recovery, the embryo contains all the genetic material from the stud and the donor mare. It already possesses the information necessary for its own development and the placenta within the recipient mare. All the recipient mare provides is nutrition to the transferred embryo with NO direct blood transfer. When she foals next year, she raises the genetically unrelated foal as her own.