Mare to Give Birth Live Online; Human ICSI Helped Her Conceive

Share
Copy

Typically, animal research, especially in the area of IVF, has helped advance human medicine, but here the tail is wagging the horse.

"A lot of things were done in rabbits and mice as well as monkeys and that has transitioned over to what we do on the human side of things," VerMilyea said. "But the horse is a different beast. Assisted reproduction is a bit more delicate and the massive size of the animal makes things all the more challenging."

ICSC can be used for race horses to continue the legacy of winning stallions or for mares that might have a blockage in the oviducts or a severe infection of the uterus or a tear in the cervix from a previous foal.

The sperm from a valuable stallion can be frozen and kept in storage tanks and, even years after its death, vets can retrieve a small amount to use for fertilization.

"There is a limited amount, and when you breed a mare the standard way you can use quite a bit each time," VerMilyea said. "With ICSI, you can shave off a tiny bit in a frozen dose, almost like a drop, and use a single sperm to inject into the egg. It extends the sperm."

My Special Girl was donated when she was 3 or 4 to the New Bolton Center, "probably because she was not very fast," and is part of its "teaching herd," said Turner.

She and 14 other mares are used for student vets who are learning to do physical exams.

"The mares are selected for their sweet temperaments and patience," she said. "You need a calm horse to put on the halter and handle them and walk them."

As the ICSI technology takes off, breeders could pay $6,000 to $8,000 for the procedure, according to Turner.

"Breeding is a big deal in horses," she said. "It's one of the few domestic species where babies are worth enough to justify a technique like this."

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: The fake baby a man was carrying as he and another woman tried to sneak into the mother and baby unit at Mercy Medical Center in Merced, Calif., hospital officials said.
Dignity Health Security/Mercy Medical Center Merced
Leopard Cub Chills in a Basket
Odd Anderson/AFP/Getty Images
PHOTO: U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston stopped a would be smuggler from bringing nearly 7 ounces of cocaine into the country in tamales, Aug. 22, 2014.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
PHOTO: Giant panda Bao Bao celebrates her first birthday at the Smithsonians National Zoo, Aug. 23, 2014.
David Galen, Smithsonians National Zoo