Artificial reproductive techniques in the horse: applications and limitations

  • B. Leemans
  • K. Smits
  • A. Van Soom
  • H. Nelis


Recent developments in the assisted reproduction in horses allow to breed foals from sub- and infertile mares, as well as from recently deceased mares or stallions. Oocytes can be obtained from live donor mares by ovum pick-up (OPU), by flushing oocytes from follicles using a transvaginal or transabdominal approach. Post mortem oocytes can be obtained by scraping the follicles. After oocyte maturation, the oocytes can be fertilized in vitro or can be transferred to the oviduct of an inseminated recipient mare (in vivo). Since conventional in vitro fertilization (IVF) is very unsuccessful in the horse, fertilization is performed by intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). After ICSI, the fertilized oocytes can be transferred to the oviduct of a synchronized recipient mare or further cultured in vitro up to the blastocyst stage. Subsequently, obtained blastocyts can be transferred to the uterus of a recipient mare. In this article, in vitro embryo production in the horse is highlighted, and possible advantages and disadvantages and clinical and scientific applications are reviewed.

How to Cite:

Leemans, B., Smits, K., Van Soom, A. & Nelis, H., (2012) “Artificial reproductive techniques in the horse: applications and limitations”, Vlaams Diergeneeskundig Tijdschrift 81(6), 329-340. doi:

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Published on
27 Dec 2012
Peer Reviewed