Costs of Equine Embryo Transfer

There are many technical and explanatory articles online describing the process of equine embryo transfer in horses. One particularly excellent article is located at…ts/TNH1003.pdf This article is not intended to be objectively educational, but meant to share subjective things I learned through my experiences with our first attempts at Equine Embryo Transfer in Bashkir Curlies, and things a veterinarian or clinic might not point out up front:

1. Harvesting is hard on the mare. Much less than carrying a foal, but it involves a fair amount of hormone injections in a short time period and for this reason I (totally subjectively, without evidence) question it’s use on young, growing mares. Unless a mare happens to double ovulate (rare), you can only hope for one embryo at a time. The statistics on getting an embryo from a 2 year old are lower (36%) but just as expensive.

2. whatever price they tell you the procedure will be, inclusive, add another 25-50% Pricing varies widely from clinic to clinic, and may include up to several attempts, or be priced procedure by procedure. Be sure to find out how your veterinarian prices equine ET. As a very basic rule of thumb (excluding stud fees and/or AI costs), expect about $800-$1000 per attempt using a local non-specialist veterinarian, $1200-$2500 to go through a university vet school, and upwards of $3000 to go through a equine reproductive clinic. Keep in mind, however, equine reproductive clinics who specialize in Embryo transfer have a significantly higher success rate that universities, and universities as higher success rate than local veterinarians.

3. If I was to do it again (and I might, next year) the thing I would change is that I would absolutely, absolutely take my mare to a reproductive clinic, LEAVE her there and let them handle it, and use one of their mares from their recipient herd- rather than hauling back and forth and trying to synch up my own mare. About halfway through the process with our vet I learned the reproductive clinics actually have much higher success rates with ET. It’s a lot more costly, but would certainly beat having smaller bill and no embryo.

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