Embryo tranfer?


17 July 2013
Recently had my beloved eventing mare assessed for foaling and due to unforeseen health issues it would not be safe for my mare to carry a full pregnancy due to a hernia (weight of the foal May cause the hernia to strangulate = mare and foal death) . So me and the vet discussed embryo transfer?

Has anyone ever done embryo transfer ?
who did you use?
any side effects?
how do you find a surrogate mare?
And how much?

i am aware of the risks ect... But just looking for experiences, recommendations and around about price.

Alec Swan

Well-Known Member
20 October 2009
Crikey, where to start?!!

It is do-able, it needn't be that expensive, we've done it, and we learned our lessons!!

If you were planning for this year, then you should have started your plans in February. It remains a possibility, just about.

1. Source the technicians who you will need, and bear in mind that another £500 in traveling expenses, to the right people, may be the cheapest option.

Not every exponent of ET is to be recommended.

2. Consider your mare, and your Vets/Technicians, and get them talking to each other. In other words, don't turn up at the chosen Vet's door with a mare who's barren, and likely to remain so. She will need a full health check, and again, from those who are competent.

3. Let us imagine that you elect to use a Veterinary practice who have some experience. Let us say that they recommend a specific stud, and one in which they have confidence. The chosen Stud will need to (preferably) have 3 mares lined up as recipients. If you're planning on one Transfer, best you try for two! You will only know for certain that you have success at the stage of a 42 day heart beat.

The Vets/Technicians who are doing the work, will need to be in touch with your vet, so that the four mares are all PG'd together. Your mare with you, and the recips at the chosen stud.

4. Now it starts to get serious. Don't be persuaded by the experts that the recipient mare is of no importance. The recipient is AS important, if not MORE SO, than the Donor mare. The recipient mare, for a Sport Horse (hopefully) will be her identical twin, in both conformation and disposition. Assuming that you're breeding from a willing and receptive mare, then the recipient needs to be just as compliant. NEVER accept just any-old-mare, as a recipient.

Breeding from Advanced Dressage mares, and placing the embryos in to huge whales of Irish Drafts, will most likely, produce huge whales of foals!!

5. There are those who will tell you that the recipient mare has no input upon the foal. The recip mare is and will be a huge influence.

6. Bear in mind that 'milking' embryos from a mare, can often affect her future breeding prospects, but as your particular mare would seem to be unable to carry a foal of her own, so perhaps that will be of no importance.

7. If you're planning an Embryo Transfer, then presumably your mare will be worth the effort. If she is indeed of value, then most owners of Stallions will agree a NFNF deal with you, less a percentage.

8. When it comes to your Vet/Technician choice, there are those who now being experienced, will take a rather slap-dash approach. There are some very well known and respected Repro Expert Vets who are offering some serious deals. Sometimes, a lack of experience, focuses the mind and the attention. Trust me on this!

9. If you're planning to use frozen semen, then order a post thaw report, and if the active and forward motility is less than 40%, choose another horse. Only use those studs which treat Frozen Semen as an everyday occurrence!

10. Never use a Stud, or a Vet/Technician who says, "Well, we'll give it a go". You are going to stick serious money in to this, and a focused and determined approach is what you want. Without it, failure will be a near certainty.

Should you require further advice, the ask. if you need personal recommendations, or warnings for that matter, then PM me. there's a great deal more to it than the above few lines, indeed a book could well be written. My thoughts above, are a modest resume.

Good luck!!



Well-Known Member
25 June 2001
Shropshire/Worcs. borders
I've got to say it - if a mare has a hernia big enough for there to be a risk of complications - why risk breeding from her. There is an argument that says hernias can be set off by bad foaling - mare being disturbed and getting up too quickly etc. but most of the experts will tell you there is a high risk it's hereditary.


Well-Known Member
26 February 2007
I would contact Tremlows and if possible send your mare to them!


Well-Known Member
4 September 2013
I used Twemlows. They provided the recipient mare and held my hand all the way. I reckon all in it cost me about £8k from start to weaned foal.


Well-Known Member
14 October 2009
I used Arundel who have an excellent vet very experienced in ET. I only had one viable recipient but, due to excellent management by the vet, she got in foal first time and the transfer was successful. Due any day now!
I chose a recipient the same size and model as my horse, an intelligent blood horse who is calm and kind natured.
It cost about 1k more than standard AI, including the livery for the extra horse