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Effect of embryo age and recipient asynchrony on pregnancy rates in a commercial equine embryo transfer program

Authors
Journal
Theriogenology
0093-691X
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
77
Issue
6
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2011.10.022
Keywords
  • Embryo Transfer
  • Pregnancy
  • Synchrony
  • Horse
  • Mare

Abstract

Abstract In the present study, 809 uterine flushes and 454 embryo transfers performed in mares over a 4-yr interval were examined to evaluate the effects of: (1) the day of embryo collection on recovery rates; (2) the degree of synchrony between donor and recipient mares on pregnancy rates; (3) the recipient day post ovulation on pregnancy rates; and (4) the age of the embryo at recovery on pregnancy rates at 60 days. Uterine flushes were performed on Days 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 (Day 0 = ovulation) and embryos were transferred to recipients with degrees of synchrony varying between +1 to −6 (recipient ovulated 1 day before through 6 days after the donor). Recipient mares ranged from 2 to 8 days post ovulation. Embryo recovery rates were similar for flushes performed on Day 7 (61%), Day 8 (66%), Day 9 (59%), and Day 10 (56%), but the embryo recovery rate was lower (P < 0.03) for flushes performed on Day 6 (42%) compared with all other days. Pregnancy rates for various degrees of synchrony were as follows: +1 (71%), 0 (77%), −1 (68%), −2 (63%), −3 (66%), −4 (76%), −5 (61%), and −6 (27%). The −6 day of degree of synchrony had the lowest (P < 0.05) pregnancy rate compared with all other days, but there was no significant difference among +1 to −5 days. There was a lower (P < 0.05) pregnancy rate for embryos transferred to recipient mares on Day 2 (33%) compared with mares on Day 3 (66%), Day 4 (66%), Day 5 (62%), Day 6 (55%), Day 7 (58%), and Day 8 (56%). Pregnancy rate was higher (P < 0.05) for Day 7 (76%) embryos compared with Day 6 (50%), Day 8 (64%), and Day 9 (44%) embryos; Day 9 embryos resulted in lower (P < 0.05) pregnancy rates than Days 7 or 8 embryos. In conclusion, this study demonstrated that: (1) embryo recovery rates between Days 7 and 10 were similar and acceptable (e.g., 63% 488/771); (2) the degree of synchrony between donor and recipient mares does not need to be as restricted as previously reported in horses. Acceptable pregnancy rates (e.g., 70%, 99/142) were obtained even when recipient mares ovulated 4 to 5 days after the donors; (3) similar pregnancy rates were obtained when recipient mares received embryos within a large range of days post ovulation (Days 3 to 8); and (4) Day 7 embryos produced higher pregnancy rates when compared with Days 8 and 9 embryos. In clinical terms, the application of these new findings will be beneficial to large equine embryo transfer operations in producing more pregnancies per season.

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