At Avantea we are always thrilled to be working with many important mares and with the semen of prestigious stallions. In particular, with animals that made the history of breeding of the show jumping and dressage horse, and of the Arabian horse and trotter. 
Ovum Pick Up-ICSI (OPU-ICSI) can be requested to obtain embryos from:

  • mares in sports that the owner might not wish to impregnate;
  • mares from which more foals or more embryos are desired;
  • mares with reproductive problems (ovarian, tubal and uterine pathologies) also linked to old age;
  •  mares with a history of recurrent abortions;
  • hypo-fertile stallions;
  • stallions whose semen is fine and/or poorly available.

Click here to download the Ovum Pick Up presentation

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Avantea is the leading clinic in Europe and the world in OPU-ICSI. This recognition derives not only from the number of donors and embryos produced and transplanted each year, but above all from the quality of the results and the service that Avantea offers to its Customers. Decades of experience and specialised clinical and assisted reproduction skills combined with state of the art laboratory equipment are the keys to Avantea's leadership.


The OPU-ICSI technique’s first phase must be carried out in a veterinary clinic fully equipped to collect oocytes from the donor mare through an ultrasound procedure. A second phase follows that requires a laboratory with specialised personnel and equipment for assisted reproduction, oocyte fertilization and embryo development.
Some veterinary clinics in Europe, with whom Avantea cooperates, can perform the first oocyte retrieval phase and then ship the oocytes to the Avantea laboratory for the second phase of embryo fertilization and development. At the end of the procedure the produced embryos are sent to the clinic that has carried out the oocyte collection and which will carry out the transplantation of the embryos.
This collaboration strategy between Avantea and other clinics in Europe brings the OPU-ICSI approach to many customers who either do not wish or cannot transport their mares to Avantea.

    The clinics where the oocyte retrieval service is available in collaboration with Avantea are currently the following:

    • Department of Equine Sciences, Section Reproduction and Obstetrics, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University. Netherlands
    • K.I. Hof Ter Leeuwe, 3440 Zoutleeuw, Belgium
    • Seldsum EQ Hendriks, Jelsum, Netherlands
    • Centre Hospitalier Vétérinaire Equin de Livet, St Michel de Livet, France
    • Højgård Hestehospital, Morud, Denmark

    The history and the OPU-ICSI technique

    In the last few years, 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 the 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. The embryos produced can be transferred immediately to receiving mares or frozen and transferred at a later time.