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Costs/worth of embryo transfer

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  • #21
    Originally posted by Noms View Post
    Oh really, hum... Even if my mare is a big hefty bodied 17.2 and the stallion is 16.2?
    You want to try and match "size to size" as much as possible...The idea of putting an Arab embryo into a big ol' draft mare has been shown to be not such a good match. Less of an issue putting a big breed into a smaller mare, but still...you do want to try and match relatively closely. Big ol' stock bred Quarter horses tend to have a nice, big barrel capable of carrying warmblood babies.
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    • #22
      Didn't read all of this thread, but I think that the size of the recipient mare may influence the size of the foal at birth, but over time that becomes less relevant and at maturity genetics will be the determinative factor in size ( along with nurture). I think Hurtgen started with big draft mares for his ETs (ours was a Belgium mare), but he shifted to Quarter Horses for the warmbloods. I suspect that OCD would be one of the concerns with a Draft recipient mare for a WB foal, who's milk production was designed for the needs of a draft foal, not a WB foal.

      This is just our thought on the matter, we really don't breed enough to accurately test to see what sorts of factors work to create OCD, but it is a sales killer / profit killer in this market when it pops up, so we want to avoid it if at all possible.
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      • #23
        Originally posted by Equine Reproduction View Post
        ...The idea of putting an Arab embryo into a big ol' draft mare has been shown to be not such a good match. Less of an issue putting a big breed into a smaller mare, but still...you do want to try and match relatively closely. .
        Interesting.

        I would have thought it was the other way around.

        Can you explain the problems with "putting an Arab embryo into a big ol' draft mare "?
        Janet

        chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

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        • #24
          Mo BO has done multiple ET's (from somewhere down south) out of her best mare over the last several years and all of the surrogates have been big QH/stock type mares. It hasn't seemed to influence the eventual height of the babies in the least bit, and all but one of the surrogates have been nice to be around. One was a miserable witch who had to have a private paddock as she would practically savage the other mares (although she was a good mom).

          Several were broke to ride and drive and ended up finding riding homes after weaning. I believe you get a refund if you ship them back, but the shipping basically costs as much as the refund from here...

          Some she locally did ETs with as well.

          I will share that the first ET didn't go well and as I was told, "cost a fortune" because they squished the first embryo in the "tube" (?) when they were trying to implant it. So they had to do it all over again.
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          • #25
            Originally posted by Janet View Post
            Interesting.

            I would have thought it was the other way around.

            Can you explain the problems with "putting an Arab embryo into a big ol' draft mare "?
            Cartier touched on it. But, to explain it a bit more, draft mares produce large quantities of milk. However, think of the difference between a Jersey cow and a Holstein cow. The Jersey produces smaller quantities of milk, but it's much richer in quality. Lots of butter fat. The Holstein cow produces HUGE amounts of milk, but more in line with skim milk. It was originally believed that draft mares just produced too much milk and nutrients for ET foals. However, while they produce large amounts, it is more in line with skim milk. Not an issue for a draft foal that will drink lots and get sufficient nutrients because it "is" getting larger volumes. Not an issue if you are putting a large foal such as a warmblood into a draft mare, but if you are putting a smaller breed such as an Arab into that draft mare, it can't ingest sufficient amounts of milk to up the nutritional values it needs for normal, healthy development. Make sense?

            Flip side is that with putting a larger foal into a smaller mare, you will see the foal smaller at birth, but will "catch up" in size. The nutritional quality of the milk will be adequate and most mares will adjust to the supply and demand, so the more the foal nurses (demand) the mare's milk production will increase (supply) to that demand. You do tend to see a higher incidence of angular limb issues at birth, but typically those do straighten out and unfold once they are given a little time out of the womb.

            I have absolutely no issue using draft mares for warmblood embryos. Their size is typically comparable or close enough to not be an issue and the foals tend to be born with few "unfolding" issues. I won't however, use a draft mare for an Arab or smaller type breed.

            Hope that helps!
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            • #26
              My general thought is for the average layperson that it is most worth doing if you are looking to preserve a bloodline or genetics for your own program (you might say it is priceless for you) and less worth doing it if you intend to sell as the costs can widely vary depending on, among other things, lady luck.

              I am curious as to how successful freezing embryos has been and what vets are having the most success with freezing, thawing and successful pregnancies? TIA

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              • #27
                Originally posted by omare View Post

                I am curious as to how successful freezing embryos has been and what vets are having the most success with freezing, thawing and successful pregnancies? TIA
                The success rate with frozen embryos is comparable to an immediate transfer - about 35% overall. With any embryo transfer, the averages are about 50% success on flushing and about 75% on transfer. Your flush success isn't going to change significantly with freezing an embryo - except you "are" flushing earlier and may miss a second embryo if there was an asynchronous ovulation. The advantage of freezing and then transferring is that you have the luxury of picking the perfect time for the transfer. So, the overall success isn't significantly different.
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                • #28
                  I highly recommend Equine Reproductive Concepts in Amissville, VA (www.equinereproduction.com) for anyone in the VA area (although they also accept shipped embryos). They list all of their expenses for ET on their website, and break down different options and costs... here are their options:
                  1. The embryo is recovered from the donor mare and shipped to ERC.
                  The recipient mare is supplied by Equine Reproduction Concepts (ERC).
                  If the recipient mare is removed from ERC, she must be returned to ERC in good health within 6 months after foaling (or you purchase the mare)
                  2. The donor mare is stabled at ERC. The embryo is recovered from the donor mare at ERC. The recipient mare is supplied by Equine Reproduction Concepts (ERC). If the recipient mare is removed from ERC, she must be returned to ERC in good health within 6 months after foaling
                  3. The embryo is recovered from the donor mare at ERC. The recipient mare is supplied by mare owner. The donor and recipient mares are stabled at ERC.
                  4. The embryo is recovered from the donor mare at ERC. The recipient mare is supplied by mare owner. The donor and recipient mares are trailered in and out of ERC.
                  5. The donor mare is trailered in and out of ERC. The embryo is recovered from the donor mare at ERC. The recipient mare is supplied by Equine Reproduction Concepts (ERC). If the recipient mare is removed from ERC, she must be returned to ERC in good health within 6 months after foaling.

                  So as you can see, you can "lease" the receipient mare, and then return her at the end of the lease... Or you can provide the reciepient mare.

                  Something I decided to do, was use my own reciepient mare. But rather then using drugs to try to sync them and taking that chance, my donor mare was AI'd in the fall (this made this option even more affordable), the embryo was frozen, and then in the spring we were able to monitor my reciepient mare and complete the ET. Great option and it probably cost me a total of about 4.5k (including AI, meds, the transfer, storage for 6 months, etc)!!!
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                  • #29
                    Originally posted by Equine Reproduction View Post
                    The success rate with frozen embryos is comparable to an immediate transfer - about 35% overall. With any embryo transfer, the averages are about 50% success on flushing and about 75% on transfer. Your flush success isn't going to change significantly with freezing an embryo - except you "are" flushing earlier and may miss a second embryo if there was an asynchronous ovulation. The advantage of freezing and then transferring is that you have the luxury of picking the perfect time for the transfer. So, the overall success isn't significantly different.
                    These numbers seems very very VERY low to me.
                    Are you counting in all the poor people who deal with vets that arent good at ET, and dont know how to freeze well? because otherwise these numbers dont make sense to me.
                    The only # that is making sense to me is the 75% success rate, but I would assume you mean from breeding to flush to 40 day pregnancy- frozen embryo or not.

                    Even 75% would make me sad. That is only 3/4. Heck, I have trouble with 9/10 lol
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                    • #30
                      Originally posted by imajacres View Post
                      These numbers seems very very VERY low to me.
                      Are you counting in all the poor people who deal with vets that arent good at ET, and dont know how to freeze well? because otherwise these numbers dont make sense to me.
                      The only # that is making sense to me is the 75% success rate, but I would assume you mean from breeding to flush to 40 day pregnancy- frozen embryo or not.

                      Even 75% would make me sad. That is only 3/4. Heck, I have trouble with 9/10 lol
                      The statistics are across the board, for all that do the work as well as for ALL of the mares with crummy reproductive efficiency AND for all the stallions that have crummy semen. Some facilities will have a much higher success rate, hence the recommendation of going with someone that is experienced. It truly is a practice makes perfect technique. BUT, with that said, many breeders/mareowners want embryos out of those older mares that are no longer capable of carrying a foal themselves. Embryos from 20 yo mares are definitely not as lovely and perfect and viable as embryos from a 10 yo mare. So, to put the stats into perspective, 50% of the time when you flush a mare that has been bred, you will get an embryo. That includes both people that are very competent and someone that is less so. There "are" variables that are definitely dependent on the skill of the technician, but you can't flush something that isn't there! And remember that often an ET is being done BECAUSE the mare is difficult to breed! You also have to recognize that the live foal rate is about 65% across the board. Next, the transfer rate. 75% of those embryos that are flushed will successfully transfer. So, if you get an embryo, you're chance of success goes up significantly, but you are still manipulating and handling a living organism, consequently, the risk of damaging that organism is higher than if you don't handle it at all. Flip side is, if the mare is incapable of carrying the foal to term, you increase your odds of success. Just gotta weigh all of ones options

                      The more you do to interfere, the more you risk failure - or in the case of a mare that is incapable of carrying a pregnancy herself...the better the chance of success . Them's just the facts ma'am .

                      Edited to add address this specifically Even 75% would make me sad. That is only 3/4. Heck, I have trouble with 9/10 . This statistic while admirable and one we all shoot for, isn't realistic over the long term! Mares get older, stallions don't all have 90% first cycle conception rates, realistically, and technicians are human and only able to accomplish so much?! Let me put it in terms that we use at our courses. If you have a mare that gets pregnant 90% of the time (which is great, I think we all will agree) and a stallion with a 90% conception rate - again great, right? - and a technician that has a 90% success rate - again, great, right? - that means you have an overall success rate of around 73%. That's still respectable. However, if you drop ANY of those percentages by even just 10%, your success rate drops below 65%!
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                      • #31
                        Originally posted by not again View Post
                        We use Select Breeders:

                        http://www.selectbreeders.com/labs
                        I couldn't find where their site even mentioned embryo transfers! Thanks for posting. Do they freeze embryos too?

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                        • #32
                          JEH Equine Reproduction Specialists is located in Whitesboro, TX has a huge recip herd and very good results. Embryo Transfers run $3500 and that includes up to 3 flushes. Very professional organization!!

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                          • #33
                            JEH can freeze embryos too!

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                            • #34
                              I did mine through Peterson & Smith in FL. It cost about $4000 on top of the "usual" breeding fees and included use of one of their mares. We had success on the first try and although I've heard horror stories, the mare is an absolute sweet heart, to the point that people at my barn don't want her to leave when the baby is weaned!
                              The rebel in the grey shirt

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                              • #35
                                First time experience with ET

                                Hi, I am a newbie breeder. My first ever breeding experience was by ET.This is my experience.

                                I did an ET on my daughters 12 yo mare last year so she could continue to ride and show the mare. As well as having the mare available for showing, it also was a way to protect the mare from any foaling problems due to her age. ET also gives you the possibility of breeding the mare several times in a season depending how deep your pockets are.

                                Cost of ET can depend on so many various factors, and for this, may I suggest you find a very qualified reproduction specialist.A good vet is worth his/her weight in gold. It is not a cut and dried sort of procedure. There are no cut and dried costs. I was told to expect $3500-$5000 for the procedure.

                                My vet laid out the following statistics.

                                -Repro success decreases with the older mare. After 12 yo the success rate drops significantly.
                                -Single cycle success rates were 65-75% for fresh semen and < = 50% for frozen semen (so have at least 2 doses on hand)
                                -collection success rates were 65-70%
                                -survivability success rate in donor mare was 40-50%

                                So basically, budget for 2 cycles to achieve a viable transfer is what I was told. However, my mare took on her first cycle with frozen semen, and the recip mare also took on the first try so we blew the odds and I was very lucky. There are no guarantees with ET.

                                Using the repro vets recipent mare herd gives the vet the option to synchronize several mares at the same time and choose one that is the closest. This is quite important, and will save you time and money. The cost of the recip mare was $1500; after weaning the foal I can either keep the mare or sell her back to the vet (at a reduced price).

                                Semen of course is an additional cost.

                                So I was able to do my first ET with frozen semen for approximately $5500 all in.

                                It was quite a learning curve, but I am glad I did it, and will be re breeding this mare with ET again this spring. My repro vet made this a positive and worthwhile experience.

                                Hope this helps!!
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                                • #36
                                  I am so happy to see this thread; I am hoping to be able to do ET with my mare next year. I was thinking of freezing the embryos until I had a mare perfectly timed. I was told to wait until next year as they are working on perfecting freezing larger embryos; they currently have a 40%-50% pregnancy rate from frozen.

                                  If I decide not to go that route, I will try to get two recipient mares to cycle in hopes at least one would be ready to be bred. I was quoted $3000-5000/cycle (for frozen, would be less if fresh) and was told to plan on two cycles (as a "worst case" scenario). They have an 80% success rate for flushing an embryo (because my mare is fertile) and then 70% the recipient will take.
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                                  • #37
                                    A couple people mentioned standardbred mares...I worked for a farm that did quite a few ETs, and the STB mares were their favorite. They were GREAT mommas and had stellar temperaments. Really nice girls (some of the other ones, OTTBs and QHs were...not so much. Not necessarily a reflection on their breed, but perhaps on how they ended up as recip mares? Who knows).

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                                    • #38
                                      You're welcome to p/m me for a chart for westcoast ET clinics. I don't try to synchronize my own herd, just ship the embryo off and if I'm dissatisfied with the way the recip mare is being fed at the clinic that manages the herd, I take her on at our mare station.

                                      Since the people who inquire about my foals only want foals from performance mares, ET is inevitable. Having almost lost my top mare in a toxic pregnancy, ET is the only option for her- I can't risk her carrying a foal.

                                      AAEP has a good study on success factors for ET considering the donor mare's age, shipping or in the field transfer of embryo and some other factors. For a young mare, you want to hear "70% success rate" from the vet you engage. An older mare is only 30% so brace yourself for disappointment.

                                      costs: depends on your vet situation, recip herd and boarding for recip mare. If you have 3 mares you can try to synchronize (3-7 yrs old), you'll save around $1500 on a lease/deposit of a recip mare. I've seen $2000-4500 for insemination, transfer, and recip mare lease. I've signed contracts for $4500 and been charged almost double what was quoted because of copious add ons.

                                      I will always do ET, just not with some of the same vets I've considered in the past.

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                                      • #39
                                        How much do your odds drop by freezing the embryo and waiting until you have the perfect recipient mare? Or does the potential better timing make up for the potential damage that it seems like freezing could do?

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                                        • #40
                                          Ideally, you want to use a mare that ovulates on the same day or the day after your mare. Anything else and you increase your risk by a lot.

                                          I used a facility that has a 5 day window (total) around the donor mares ovulation date and it did not work. My vet was not happy when he found that out. I went with them because they were more convenient than the one he normally uses who has a much larger receipant herd and only uses mares who ovulate the same day or the day after. So lesson learned. Ask what their window is for the receipant mare. I won't go convenient again. I'll plan to ship hte mare back home next time.
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