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Embryo Transfer: Playing God or Employing Good Science?

June 2018 by Sonja Vandermark, BSc (Hons) Equine Science and Technology
Sonja Vandermark has worked in equine nutrition research and the feed industry. She currently operates a horse complex in Western Victoria and enjoys studying and practising Equitation Science as well as keeping abreast of equine research across varied fields.

The practice of embryo transfer is becoming more and more accessible to breeders as a way of obtaining offspring from mares who might be compromised through age, fertility problems or injury in their ability to produce a healthy foal, or from those who still have an active competition career and can’t afford the ‘time off’ for active pregnancy. It is also becoming an important ‘life raft’ in the preservation of rare breeds.

With advanced assisted reproductive techniques (ART’s), it is now possible to produce a foal from the union of a deceased stallion and a top level competition mare who continues to compete throughout. Indeed, it is possible to produce several foals from this union in a single year!