I have an older mare that I am hoping to be able to obtain and freeze some embryos from if at all possible. The mare is 24 years old and in general good health although she is difficult to keep weight on, however she does cycle so I am hoping there is a chance to get an embryo or more.
My question is basically what is involved with getting embryos and freezing them. I plan on attempting to use the embryos next spring. I have the stallion on site that I want to breed this mare to and he can be collected quite easily.
What equipment do I need? I have a nitrogen tank but I assume I will need other "stuff" to properly store the embryos.
What is the overall success rate with this method? I know a lot depends on the vet and getting the recipent mares cycling properly.
Any info is greatly appreciated. I know this is a long shot due to the mares age but I would like to take this chance with her anyway.
Be aware that flushing embryos from older mares will not be as successful as flushing from younger mares, so right off the bat you're in a lower success rate bracket.
The flush process for embryos to freeze is the same as for regular ET's except that there is better success with embryos that are 6-6½ days post ovulation for freezing rather than the more usual 7 days for immediate transfer. Close monitoring of the mare's ovaries to determine ovulation time is therefore of great importance. Generally better success is seen with embryos that are in the morula or early blastocyst stage and <250µ in diameter.
Technique and experience are going to be the leading attributes that will assist excess after the ability of the mare to conceive. It is not something that the average breeder is going to be able to achieve themselves with good cost-effective success. It is going to require the experience of someone well versed in doing regular ET's, and even then luck is going to play a bigger part than with regular ET's...
The actual transfer process is easier than with a fresh ET, as one does not have to "cycle" mares in a timely fashion - just thaw and transfer the embryo at the right time relative to the ovulation.
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