Ovum pick up - Horse

In the last few years the assisted reproductive technologies, already successfully applied in cattle, have made considerable progress also in the horse, as a result of the research carried out mainly by Avantea team and a few other international laboratories.

The most recent technology is the Ovum Pick Up which consists in the collection of oocytes from donor mares, their in vitro maturation and fertilization by direct injection of the sperm (intracytoplasmic sperm injection, ICSI) followed by culture of the fertilized oocytes in incubator for about a week, until they reach the stage of embryos suitable for transfer in recipient mares.

The collection of oocytes is a procedure that can be repeated every 10-15 days without interfering with the normal activity of the donor even if the animal is involved in sport activity. The collection can be made in any period of the year also outside the breeding season.

A small quantity of semen, either fresh or frozen, is used for each oocyte collection and fertilization. For this reason, the Ovum Pick Up-ICSI technique can be also successfully applied  when the semen is available in limited amount or it is of poor fertility when used in for artificial insemination or natural mating.

A) The international champion Marisol in action; B-C) Marisol at the premises of AVANTEA during the oocyte collection for embryo production. Marisol has produced 3 embryos that have been frozen at the time of production. Two of these embryos have been transferred after thawing, obtaining 2 pregnancies.


The technology of Ovum Pick Up-ICSI is suitable for:

  • mares with reproductive problems (ovarian, oviductal and uterine pathologies) also related to aging;
  • mares with an history of recurrent abortions;
  • mares in competition that cannot carry a pregnancy;
  • mares from which more foals or embryos are desirable;
  • infertile stallions.

Download Ovum Pick Up leaflet

FAQ Ovum Pick Up

Three beautiful foals born in 2009 from frozen embryos produced with the OPU-ICSI technique. A) Miss Caretino 2 (Caretino x Eljen); B) Carina FZBZ-RS (Caretino x Quina); C) Aquina FZBZ-RS (Acorado x Quina). Quina is the full sister of the famous stallion Toulon.

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