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Advancing maternal age is known to negatively affect fertility in the horse. This age-related decrease in fertility has been linked primarily to reduced oocyte quality rather than to impaired uterine function. In the past decade, the use of ovum pick-up (OPU) and ICSI to produce foals has rapidly gaining popularity amongst sport horse breeders. However, it is not yet known how maternal age influences the efficiency of a commercial OPU-ICSI program and whether the age effect is similar to that observed for other ART in the horse. To answer this question, reproductive records of 289 mares bred by natural mating (NM), 328 mares bred by AI, 205 embryo donor mares (AI-EF-ET), and 473 mares submitted for OPU-ICSI and ET were analyzed retrospectively using a regression model to investigate the effects of maternal age and breeding technique on the likelihood of producing a viable pregnancy. The reproductive efficiency (quantified as the proportion of mares that yielded at least one Day 45 pregnancy) of the different breeding techniques NM, AI, AI-EF-ET and OPU-ICSI-ET was 63.3, 43.9, 45.8 and 37.4%, respectively (P < 0.05). However, the frequent production of multiple embryos per ICSI session (up to 10 embryos in one attempt), makes OPU-ICSI-ET as effective as AI-EF-ET when measured in terms of the mean number of Day 45 pregnant recipients per donor mare. Increasing maternal age was associated with a reduction (P < 0.05) in the reproductive efficiency of all breeding techniques (NM, AI, AI-EF-ET) except OPU-ICSI-ET (P > 0.05). In the OPU-ICSI-ET group, increasing maternal age was associated with a lower number of follicles aspirated and oocytes recovered per mare. Nevertheless, the percentage of blastocysts per injected oocyte, and post-ET likelihoods of pregnancy and pregnancy loss were not influenced by the age of the oocyte donor mare (P > 0.05).
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Methods pertaining to the generation of new individuals, including techniques used in selective BREEDING, cloning (CLONING, ORGANISM), and assisted reproduction (REPRODUCTIVE TECHNIQUES, ASSISTED).
Clinical and laboratory techniques used to enhance fertility in humans and animals.
Therapy assisted by the use of a horse and/or its movement, including equine-assisted psychotherapy, horseback riding, and hippotherapy.
A technique in assisted reproduction (REPRODUCTIVE TECHNIQUES, ASSISTED) consisting of hormonal stimulation of the ovaries, follicular aspiration of preovulatory oocytes, in-vitro fertilization, and intrafallopian transfer of zygotes at the pronuclear stage (before cleavage).
Assisted reproductive techniques where eggs, sperm, both eggs and sperm (double donation), or embryos from donors are used.
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