Frequently asked questions about Ovum Pick Up

When choosing the Ovum Pick Up technique?

  • When it is required to obtain embryos from mares with uterine pathologies that do not allow embryonic development after natural or artificial fertilization.
  • When the donor mares are in training or sporting activities and cannot carry a pregnancy.
  • When it is desirable to obtain embryos outside the breeding season.
  • When the semen of the selected stallion is of poor quality or it is available in limited quantities.
  • When the donors are aged mares.
  • When the desired stallion is infertile or the semen is available in small quantity.

Which are the suitable donor mares for Ovum Pick Up?

All non-pregnant mares are eligible regardless of age, although in horses over 17 years of age there is a decrease in efficiency.

Which are the pharmacological treatments on the donor mare required for the Ovum Pick Up technique?

No hormonal stimulation is required. The donor is slightly sedated at the time of oocyte collection, an epidural anesthesia is also performed. After and before collection, a short anti-inflammatory and antibiotic treatment is recommended as a precaution.

Which stallions can be used for the fertilization of the oocytes (Intracytoplasmatic sperm injection - ICSI)?

All stallions, including those with low or no fertility in natural mating, can be used as long as live spermatozoa are present in the semen, even if in small quantities. Both fresh refrigerated or frozen semen are suitable for this technique.

When is the best time of the year to perform Ovum Pick Up?

Ovum Pick Up can be perfomed throughout the whole year, even outside the breeding season because the oocytes can always be found on the ovary also during the seasonal anoestrus. The embryos produced can be safely frozen and therefore it is not necessary to have available recipient mares for the transfer of fresh embryos. For this reason Ovum Pick Up is also recommended during the non-reproductive season.

Is it necessary to have recipient mares for the transfer of fresh embryos?

No, it is not necessary because the embryos produced by Ovum Pick Up-ICSI can be safely frozen and transferred at a later time. The average pregnancy rate after transfer of frozen-thawed embryos is about 60%.