Peterson and Smith Equine Reproduction Center, a SBS Affiliate Laboratory in Ocala, FL, has launched EQUIGEA, a company founded by three prominent individuals in the field of assisted equine reproduction. Dr. Phil Matthews, Dr. Cesare Galli and Dr. Ed Squires each have over 30 years of experience in not only developing techniques in the reproductive industry but also making them applicable within a commercial setting. EQUIGEA offers a complete and all-inclusive Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) program consisting of aspirations, maturation, sperm injections, embryo development and transfers. All of these services are provided “in-house” at Peterson and Smith Equine Reproduction Center to ensure the highest probability of success.
Ovum Pickup (OPU) technology consists of the collection of oocytes from donor mares using a transvaginal ultrasound-guided technique. Once collected, the oocytes are placed in culture media to induce maturation. This process mimics the development that would occur naturally within the mare. The oocytes that mature then will be subjected to ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection). This is the process of injecting each oocyte with an individual sperm from the desired stallion. The resulting fertilized oocytes are then cultured in the lab to allow development into a stage of an embryo (blastocyst) suitable for transfer.
ICSI is appropriate for mares that are unable to become pregnant for various reasons: chronic uterine disease, cervical disease, physical problems that don’t allow carrying a foal, ET mares that no longer produce embryos, also the performance mare with limited time for breeding management.
Only a small quantity of semen either fresh, cooled or frozen, is needed to fertilize each oocyte during the ICSI session. For this reason, the OPU technique can be successfully applied when limited semen is available or with the stallion that has poor fertility.
Photo courtesy of PSERC Website