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Theriogenology. 1996 Mar;45(4):719-26.

Recovery rate and quality of embryos from mares inseminated after ovulation.

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  • 1Agricultural Research Centre, Equine Research, 32100 Ypäjä, Finland.


The aim of this study was to evaluate the quality of embryos and their recovery rate from mares inseminated at different intervals after ovulation. Finnhorse and warmblood mares were inseminated with fresh semen 8 to 16 h, 16 to 24 h, or 24 to 32 h after ovulation. Control mares were inseminated before ovulation. Sixty-seven embryo flushings were performed between Days 7 and 9 after ovulation/insemination. Thirteen mares were not flushed, but their uteri were scanned for pregnancy on Days 14 to 16. Embryo recovery rates decreased as time from ovulation to insemination increased, although embryo quality remained normal as evaluated by morphological criteria and mitotic index. However, postovulatory insemination in this trial appeared to delay embryo development, since the embryos recovered from mares inseminated after ovulation were appreciably smaller and at an earlier stage of development than control embryos recovered from mares inseminated prior to ovulation. Part of this delay in embryo development in the postovulation group could be due to the time needed for sperm capacitation. In addition, as the time from ovulation to insemination increased, embryo development might have been further delayed by defects in the aging oocyte.

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