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Costs/worth of embryo transfer

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  • Costs/worth of embryo transfer

    Curious what experiences people have had with ET, and what the real costs were for you. We tried once synching a donor and recipient mare on our farm which involved lots of Regumate, but we were not able to get it close enough to work. The vets at VA tech recommended using a farm that specializes in this where you ship the embryo to a waiting mare, lease that mare until the foal is born, and then return the mare to the farm. The ET specialist we spoke to there has had better luck that way so, a couple questions I guess:

    1) Was your experience good, bad, mediocre?
    2) What was the final cost?
    3) Did you lease a mare or buy a surrogate?
    4) Would you do it again?
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  • #2
    Originally posted by Wits End Eventing View Post
    Curious what experiences people have had with ET, and what the real costs were for you. We tried once synching a donor and recipient mare on our farm which involved lots of Regumate, but we were not able to get it close enough to work.
    Trying to synchronize mares with the use of Regumate just isn't as effective as other methods (P&E for example). Mares can and do ovulate in the face of progesterone and just using it without any kind of control on the follicular development would be...well..ineffective. But you know that now .

    We do quite a bit of ET work with mare owners that already own a second mare that would be appropriate for a recip mare. Young. Good health. Had a previous foal. Etc. Drop me an email and I'll provide you with the protocol we use for that specifically.

    The vets at VA tech recommended using a farm that specializes in this where you ship the embryo to a waiting mare, lease that mare until the foal is born, and then return the mare to the farm.
    You will, without a doubt, have a MUCH higher success rate with a facility that does nothing but ET's. Practice "does" make perfect. And they will have multiple mares lined up and ready to transfer an embryo in that will be at the proper time to receive it.

    The ET specialist we spoke to there has had better luck that way so, a couple questions I guess:

    1) Was your experience good, bad, mediocre?
    2) What was the final cost?
    3) Did you lease a mare or buy a surrogate?
    4) Would you do it again?
    I can't help you on the above questions....we do them and we do not keep a recip mare herd, so we are working with mare owners like yourself that have their own recip mare(s). But, as I said, drop me an email and I'll provide you wiht a protocol that will give you better timing synchronization. The devil is, as in most things, in the details!
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    • #3
      If you go someplace like Rood and Riddle or Hagyard, they have recip herds and package deal pricing that runs around 4.5K per embryo. Obviously that doesn't include the price of the semen.
      Caitlin
      *OMGiH I Loff my Mare* and *My Saddlebred Can Do Anything Your Horse Can Do*
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      • #4
        I have never used more than one recip mare if I want to do a fresh transfer. Always has worked fine.
        I would take ER up on her kind offer to get the protocol instructions for synching the mares.

        I send mine out to my clinic in Quebec for that; before it was done by Dr Pedro Jou, and it has been/was always successful.
        I have two mares that I can use for recip duties. One is on baby #3 as we speak, the other has had one baby.
        I have had clients lease a mare from the clinic I work with, and I boarded the mare for them, and the mare was a sweetie (Stndbd) and it worked well also.
        That for sure is an advantage when leasing a recip mare- the clinics will have a mare that is timed for your mare.

        I would however only want to deal with a clinic that freezes embryos succesfully, because if for some reason either your recip mare doesnt co-operate, or you decide you need to freeze, or your mare gives two follicles or or or... you have more opportunities that way.


        Also, I dont like the package prices- yes they may be less risk in some ways, but if your clinic is good they can get it done on one cycle, and you dont need to pay the big price. In order to load the deck in your favour for this, you need a recip mare that is fertile, and doesnt mind extenders, agents etc, and good semen for the donor mare.

        I like to appeal to the repro vet's ego, which is usually quite pronounced, and tell them they have ONE shot to make it all happen, and I KNOW THEY CAN DO IT. It seems to work! :-)
        Last year's cost 2800$ inc tax plus the semen, including board for 21 days for both mares. (I owned the recip mare). That was in Ontario, with Drs Daniel Jou and Claire Plante. The mares were prepped at home, in that, when they started showing to the stallion where they were living, then they got a shot (donor mare first, then recip 18 hours after), and hoped on the trailer to get bred etc. Not very high tech, but if you know your mares it is easier.

        I would for sure take a guaranteed pregnancy price on iffy semen stallions if the clinic has the semen and is offering the deal. But most clinics wont offer that deal on iffy semen anyway, since they dont want to be stuck if/when it doesnt work.
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        • #5
          I haven't done it personally yet, but I know many people have excellent success with Dr. Foss in Missouri. He has a HUGE recipient mare herd and all they do is breeding, ETs, etc as far as I know. He was very helpful and informative when I have contacted him for information in the past, and that is who I would use if I were to go the ET route. They also have the package pricing which to me seems fairly reasonable. It is cheaper than Hagyard and Rood and Riddle here in KY, for sure. Also, at least at Hagyard, their recip herd is up north somewhere, WI maybe, so your embryo gets shipped either way. I do think the cost is usually around $5K in all the figuring I've done when I've considered it before. That is assuming you are leasing a mare from whatever facility you choose.

          Here is a website for Equine Medical in MO:

          http://www.equmed.com/embryo%20transfer.htm
          Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved. - William Jennings Bryan

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          • #6
            I did an embryo transfer way back in 2001. I went to a specialist, a vet who only did ETs and repro work.

            The result of this ET was my Advanced eventer mare Dekorum, so I see no reason to believe ET foals are of 'lesser' quality. The cost was about $3000, not including stud fees.

            My other foals were born at a big facility that has a huge recip herd and does loads of ETs. At first, they were mostly from QHs but the number of WB/sporthorses increased every year. They had a very high success rate and a lot of 'firsts' in the repro field.

            As ER says, you're best off using one of these clinics and using one of their mares. It's really about the numbers -- they do this day in, day out, all year. They know how to get mares in foal, how to get emryos into surrogates, how to select good recipients for their herd.

            My ET foal's surrogate was a 4 year-old, maiden, wide-bodied TB. She was a good mother, although her much-prettier daughter had little interest in her and weaned herself at 3 months. The filly met her biological mom when she was almost two years old, and they became quite close, which was interesting as the bio mom doesn't like other horses (except for her own offspring) at all.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by buschkn View Post
              I haven't done it personally yet, but I know many people have excellent success with Dr. Foss in Missouri. He has a HUGE recipient mare herd and all they do is breeding, ETs, etc as far as I know. He was very helpful and informative when I have contacted him for information in the past, and that is who I would use if I were to go the ET route. They also have the package pricing which to me seems fairly reasonable. It is cheaper than Hagyard and Rood and Riddle here in KY, for sure. Also, at least at Hagyard, their recip herd is up north somewhere, WI maybe, so your embryo gets shipped either way. I do think the cost is usually around $5K in all the figuring I've done when I've considered it before. That is assuming you are leasing a mare from whatever facility you choose.

              Here is a website for Equine Medical in MO:

              http://www.equmed.com/embryo%20transfer.htm
              Dr. Foss is considered to be one of the best in the world. We do several ETs every year, for ourselves and a few clients. If we run out of recips, we ship embryos to Dr. Foss and have had great success with this.
              Already excited about our 2016 foals! Expecting babies by Indoctro, Diamant de Semilly, Zirocco Blue and Calido!
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              • #8
                Does anyone have a recommendation of an ET facility near Aubrey TX? I am looking, but need to also have an ET mare option for a WB sized foal. I think there are many QH facilities, but I am not sure if that would be appropriate for a WB sporthorse baby?


                Thanks

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Noms View Post
                  Does anyone have a recommendation of an ET facility near Aubrey TX? I am looking, but need to also have an ET mare option for a WB sized foal. I think there are many QH facilities, but I am not sure if that would be appropriate for a WB sporthorse baby?


                  Thanks
                  I use Quarter Horses for my large warmblood mares all the time (we have an abundance of off-the-track QHs in this area). Height really doesn't matter, so a wide bodied Quarter Horse is just fine.
                  Already excited about our 2016 foals! Expecting babies by Indoctro, Diamant de Semilly, Zirocco Blue and Calido!
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Hillside H Ranch View Post
                    I use Quarter Horses for my large warmblood mares all the time (we have an abundance of off-the-track QHs in this area). Height really doesn't matter, so a wide bodied Quarter Horse is just fine.
                    This. Some of my best surrogates have been big bodied QH and uncolored apps.
                    Mary Lou
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                    • #11
                      We use Select Breeders:

                      http://www.selectbreeders.com/labs
                      Anne
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                      "Where knowledge ends violence begins." B. Ljundquist

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                      • #12
                        We've had great success with Weatherford Equine and Curtis Graves.

                        And if you can, shop for a place in Texas. The ET rates in Texas are much more competitive that elsewhere - including Foss and Royal Vista.
                        Only two emotions belong in the saddle: One is a sense of humor. The other is patience.

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                        • #13
                          Well, if you're going to go through the expense and higher risk of ET then you need to set yourself up for the best odds of success.

                          You need a vet who not only specializes with reproduction, but who has a lot of experience and good success rate with ET.

                          If you want to maintain your own recipient herd, you SHOULD try to synchronize at least 2 but preferrably 3 receipients along with your donor. Three is better and increases your odds. Mares quite often are not interested in reading up on the current literature and much rather do their own thing. I would rather spend $180 on extra hormones on an extra mare than lose an entire cycle because nobody synchronized right.

                          If you use an ET vet, your best ones are those that do also maintain a herd because they're committed to doing the procedure big time - they're paying for these mares to sit in their field waiting to be a recipient for the customer.

                          Your receipient mares need to be young, healthy, have very good uteruses free of infection with a good biopsy score. They preferrably have had at least 1 foal so that (a) you know they're able to get pregnant and (b) that they're going to be decent moms. The recipient mares should have the kind of temperament you demand from your donor - because SHE's influencing her donated baby. She should be easy to handle and not a basket-case nutjob.

                          For me in Alberta, it costs me about $1800 for the first cycle and that is me performing the P&E myself and supplying my own herd. My vet is a gentle guy, but he's pretty firm that it's better odds with 2-3 receipient mares provided and I tend to believe him.

                          If I were to use one of my vet's mares, it's $3000 for the first cycle and that includes the mare who then comes home to live with me.

                          Plus stallion fee + shipping fees for semen.

                          If I'm just pulling embryos for the purpose of freezing, then it is less money and we've done this - haven't thawed any out yet though. Embryos are most successfully frozen with fewer complications if you manage to flush them as early as possible - 5.5 to 6 days and they need to be vitrified in ethylene glycol-glycerol solution before being put into the LN2. The mare needs to be at the vet's and he commits himself to watching her pretty darn closely so he knows exactly when she's ovulated, not only to get her insemination timed right, but also so that he can calculate the time he needs to start getting in there and flushing her.

                          Timing is everything. Skill and practice are everything.

                          I do not believe a vet who claims a 100% success rate. Not possible. He should, however, be able to flush a viable embryo from your donor mare 50-75% of the time. Then it's up to your receipient mare's fertility to help encourage the odds of a successful transplant.
                          Practice! Patience! Persistence!
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                          • #14
                            I breed almost exclusively by embryo transfer. Yes, there are more costs up front, but it means that my mares all stay in full training and have a full show schedule, so they can then be sold on their own and aren't "just broodmares". Also, people at shows often ask me if I have any foals from that mare, so it is good advertising. Like others said, the key is to find a repro vet that you trust that has very high success rates. I had a vet in NM that had near 100% success rates for me, but she just joined Royal Vista Southwest. Royal Vista is a great place with a huge recip herd that you can ship embryos to. I have never lost a shipped embryo.

                            Gina
                            http://www.anteroequestrian.com

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Home Again Farm View Post
                              This. Some of my best surrogates have been big bodied QH and uncolored apps.
                              Oh really, hum... Even if my mare is a big hefty bodied 17.2 and the stallion is 16.2?

                              Uncolored apps, any reason they are uncolored?

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                              • #16
                                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?

                                Uncolored apps, any reason they are uncolored?
                                My guess is the colored ones are are worth/cost more. Solid apps just like Solid APHA horses are color wise a cull and not often kept or sold for much money unless they in some other way are superior. At least from the color breeder point of view.
                                "I would not beleive her if her tongue came notorized"

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                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  So helpful everyone!!! Thanks. Something we are definitely considering for the future. As pasture is limited, actually using a farm where we could "rent" the surrogate might make the most sense. That way we do not end up with another mouth to feed for 20 years..... Very interesting!!!!
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                                  • #18
                                    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?

                                    Uncolored apps, any reason they are uncolored?
                                    Yes, really. I am talking big bodied and long backed short legged mares. They all had calm, easy temperaments and were good moms. I have had TB mares that were short coupled and not terribly big bodied and had a harder time carrying large Hanoverian foals.

                                    My guess is the uncolored apps were less valuable and ended up as surrogates because of that. I had one whose registered name was a mouthful and was immediately recognized by a friend as being by a well known appy sire (sorry I can't recall it now - we called her Missy). She was a wonderful mom, a little stubborn, but a pushover when you gave her a little love and a few carrots.
                                    Mary Lou
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                                    Member OMGiH I loff my mares clique

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                                    • #19
                                      Question about ET regarding the donor mare:

                                      I know from my education in genetics that the older a female mammal is the higher chance for defects to occur in the fetus from the eggs being "stuck" in meiosis for so long and the body being exposed to cumulative DNA damage and free radicals and such. Has anyone researched or been a part of ET with an older donor mare?

                                      My trainer has her older mare(26 IIRC) that she has 2 offspring from, both are great, but she never got a filly out of her which is what she would love. She briefly mentioned ET to the vet and was told the cost would be over $10k, that was a bit too expensive. I don't know how serious she was about it, but seeing the quotes her has me thinking it may be more feasible.

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                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Equine Reproduction View Post
                                        You will, without a doubt, have a MUCH higher success rate with a facility that does nothing but ET's. Practice "does" make perfect.
                                        Back in 2004 we did an ET using a 22 year old donor mare … with one dose of frozen semen, we used Nandi Vet Clinic (Dr. Hurtgen). We paid $600.00 (six hundred dollars for the vet bills, the recipient mare was $4K… board was $18.00 a day). Dr. Hurtgen got the job done on the first cycle… it was by far one of the cheapest breedings we ever did.

                                        Arthur is an OBGYN, he agrees with what Kathy (ER) is saying in the quote above. Success is a function of how many times the professional does the procedure.

                                        The biggest waste of time and money is to use a vet who does fewer than a dozen ET’s a year, and has a poor success rate.

                                        We have a clinic within 5 miles of our home that has a lousy reputation for success, and they bill through the roof. We’d never use them. Go to a vet or facility that specializes in ET’s… and is successful, it will be some much cheaper in the long run.
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