Weatherford Equine Oocyte Services
Weatherford Equine was the first reproductive center to offer oocyte services in the North TX area back in 2013. Since then Dr. Young has performed thousands of aspirations and is very experienced in providing for all the needs associated with collecting oocytes from mares to undergo ICSI fertilization. He can perform pre-ovulatory aspirations, immature aspirations, or post mortem collections.
Mares can be managed at our facility or on a haul in basis. We also work closely with referring veterinarians that may wish to manage the mares and ensure the mares are prepared for a scheduled outpatient aspiration.
We have strong working relationships with the top ICSI labs in the country and can assist in coordinating semen delivery if needed to inject the oocytes.
We also work closely with the ICSI labs to coordinate shipping embryos back to Weatherford Equine for transfer, or to the recipient facility of the embryo owners choice, once the embryos are ready.
Weatherford Equine’s ultimate goal is to work with both mare owners and stallion owners to maximize the number of live foals conceived via ICSI.
Experience That Matters
First to offer oocyte aspirations in North TX (est. 2013)
Over 4,000+ successful/safe aspirations performed to date
Strong working relationships with the top equine ICSI labs in the country.
Reasons to Pursue ICSI
Stallions with limited availability of semen* or stallions with low quality semen
Mares that are no longer able to produce embryos via traditional methods
Unexpected death of a mare
Overview of the Process for Utilizing ICSI
The first step of the ICSI procedure is to recover oocytes from the mare. The oocytes are recovered by transvaginal follicular aspiration (TVA). In this procedure, using ultrasound guidance, a needle is used to aspirate follicles present on the ovary. The procedure is performed with the mare standing in the stocks under sedation and takes 15-60 minutes depending on how many follicles are being aspirated. This can be done as an outpatient procedure.
ICSI procedure (injection of a sperm cell into an oocyte)
Once the oocytes have been collected they are carefully processed, packaged and sent to a reputable equine ICSI lab for fertilization.
The next step occurs at the ICSI lab and requires a small amount of semen that can be fresh or frozen depending on availability. This is when the actual ICSI takes place. ICSI stands for Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection and is performed by injecting a single sperm cell directly into the mares oocyte. The fertilized egg is then cultured in the lab until it becomes a transferable embryo.
Once a healthy embryo has been cultured at the laboratory (process takes 7-10 days) the resulting embryos will need to be implanted into recipient mares. We work closely with the ICSI labs to coordinate shipping them back to Weatherford Equine for transfer, or to the recipient facility of your choice. If ICSI is performed in the off season, or if excess embryos develop, the embryos can be vitrified and the shipping is coordinated at a later time.
Mature vs. Immature Oocytes and Anticipated Results
There are 2 approaches for obtaining mature oocytes for the ICSI procedure.
Pre-Ovulatory (Mature) Aspiration: A large dominant follicle is aspirated right before the mare ovulates in her cycle.
This method allows the mare to "mature" the oocyte in a natural setting, her body
These oocytes typically have a higher likelihood of becoming a transferable embryo (~40%) but there is
typically only one dominant follicle to aspirate per session
This can be done every time the mare cycles, approximately every 14 days but does require that she be
Immature Aspiration: All the follicles present on the mare’s ovary are aspirated regardless of where she is at in her cycle
The immature oocytes require further maturation in the lab. Then, once mature (~65% of the oocytes
collected), the oocyte is fertilized similarly to a mature pre-ovulatory oocyte
These oocytes don't have as high of likelihood of becoming transferable embryos (~20%), but typical
immature aspiration sessions at Weatherford Equine will yield an average of 8 immature oocytes
This approach can potentially be done every 14 days and the mare does not have to be cycling, she
only needs to have multiple follicles present, sometimes it is beneficial to wait longer between sessions
to allow more follicles to develop
Statistically speaking there is a much higher chance of achieving pregnancies via the immature aspirations but this is dependent on the mare having a large number of follicles. Some mares may not be good candidates for immature aspiration and can only be done using the pre-ovulatory method.
Weatherford Equine averages just over two blastocysts produced per immature aspiration session
*Every donor mare is different and results can vary considerably*
Combination Aspiration: In the event there are a large number of small follicles present at the same time as a large dominant follicle both the Immature and Pre-ovulatory aspirations can be performed at the same time allowing the benefits of both.
ICSI labs we are currently working with:
(Click on logo to follow their links for more detailed information about the ICSI process and their contracts/fee schedules)
Weatherford Equine Medical Center
Weatherford Equine Breeding Center
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