Embryo Transfer Preparation

Proper preparation can Make any job easier and more successful. Over the years we have found several suggestions that help facilitate the embryo transfer process. We hope you look this list over and make the following preparations:

In-House Embryo Transfer Program

  1. We would like you to contact the manager of the stallion to which you intend to breed before bringing the mare. This will allow you to provide us with the proper phone numbers and contacts for ordering semen as well as scheduling of collection days. You should also finalize any breeding arrangements with the stallion manager at this time.
  2. Contact your breed registry to make sure you will be complying with their requirements for eventual registry of the resulting foal. Some registries require a permit before the embryo is transferred.
  3. We ask that all mares come with leather halters to decrease the chance of injury.
  4. We ask that you do not leave a lead rope, blankets, etc. 
  5. Mares should arrive with a coggins test taken in the current calendar year, if not we will draw one upon arrival. 
  6. Mares that arrive for early breeding (before April 1) should be under lights for at least 8 weeks prior to the planned breeding.
  7. We ask that you provide us with a written record of recent vaccinations, dewormings-so they do not have to be repeated; and an indication of any special care the mare may require.
  8. We would like all non-maiden mares to arrive with clean cultures.
  9. Please give us as much notice as possible before bringing your mare so we can be sure to have adequate accommodations for her. Stabling is on a first-come first-serve basis. We are continually expanding our facilities, but we have a fixed capacity. It is impossible to make a fixed reservation and guarantee stall availability at any given point in the future, as predicting when mares will leave is very difficult. Occasionally, mares may have to be put on a short waiting list, which we run through relatively quickly. Regardless, good communication regarding mare arrivals is very important. Paddock board may only be available between March 15 and September 15.
  10. Please give us at least 3 business days notice before picking up recipient mares so that we may have them processed and ready for you.  In addition to paperwork, this frequently involves transporting them from one of our 3 outlying farms. Notification that is too short may make proper transportation impossible.  Remember that we require full payment at the time of discharge. 
  11. We like to keep mare owners well informed, but we generally have around 100 donor mares here at a time and have found that giving a daily play-by-play update to multiple clients is difficult.  We welcome your call and the receptionists will try to update you as much as possible with information entered in the medical records.  If you require more information, Dr. Foss, Dr. Ortis or one of the technicians can return your call, although we’ve found e-mail to be quite effective.  You can e-mail us at equinemedical@aol.com.

Transported Embryo Transfer Program

  1. All arrangements with Equine Medical Services (including contract and payment) should be made prior to breeding the donor mare.
  2. Contact your breed registry to make sure you will be complying with their requirements for eventual registry of the resulting foal.  Some registries require a permit before the embryo is transferred.
  3. Communicate with your veterinarian to make sure he/she is prepared for this process.
  4. Contact EMS as soon as you start breeding your donor mare and again as soon as she ovulates.  This will allow us to manipulate and distribute recipient mares appropriately.  Failure to notify us in a timely manner may prevent us from having a recipient mare ready for your embryo.
  5. Determine if your veterinarian has access to shipping media (we use Ham’s F-10 gassed in 5% carbon dioxide with added serum and antibiotics although Syngro, Vigro or Emcare holding media work well if the embryo is to be shipped by air).  If not we can provide it via Fed-Ex for $50 plus shipping, but only with payment by credit card.  The ph of the Ham-10 is buffered by carbon dioxide, which can diffuse out rather quickly.  It should be used within 4-5 days of preparation and kept tightly sealed.  This means that fresh media is required for each subsequent embryo flush attempt.  Syngro, Vigro or Emcare holding media, on the other hand, can be kept on the shelf until needed, but may not be quite as supportive for the embryo if the embryo is to be shipped Fed Ex.
  6. Make shipping arrangements for your embryo early.  We prefer that the embryo be shipped via air counter to counter if possible, although embryos collected late in the day and shipped via Federal Express can do just as well.  The less time an embryo is out of a mare, the better it will be.  The embryo can be flown to St. Louis (STL) and a courier can bring the embryo to Equine Medical Services.  The courier requires an additional fee.  We receive embryos 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but if at all possible we would appreciate the arrival of the embryo at a reasonable time of day.  Please note that embryos do not arrive at Equine Medical Services by courier until approximately 3 hours after they arrive in St. Louis.
  7. Please call us as soon as the flush is complete, regardless of the outcome.  If an embryo is recovered this will allow you to tell us of shipping arrangements and air bill numbers so that we may be prepared for its arrival.  If an embryo is not recovered this will prevent us from worrying that communication lines have broken down and calling around to find if an embryo has been shipped.
  8. Please give us at least 3 business days notice before picking up recipient mares so that we may have them processed and ready for you.  In addition to paperwork this frequently involves transporting them from one of our 3 outlying farms.  Notification that is too short may make proper transportation impossible.  Remember that we require full payment at the time of discharge.

Communication

As stated above, we don’t make daily play-by-play telephone calls for each mare, strictly due to the number of donor and recipient mares involved.  We will call you when we have questions, when we think we need to reassess plans, when plans have been completed, when we have a newly established pregnancy, and if a pregnancy is lost.  Please feel free to check in with us as you see necessary and let us know if you have any special communication requests.

If you require more information, Dr. Foss, Dr. Ortis or one of the technicians can return your call, although we’ve found e-mail to be quite effective.  You can e-mail us at equinemedical@aol.com.