Equine reproduction through artificial insemination (AI)

Artificial Insemination (AI) explained:

Thank you for your interest in our equine artificial insemination (AI) services. Artificial insemination is the process through which semen is collected from a stallion and then placed into the uterus of the mare by a vet or technician qualified to perform artificial insemination (AI). Every mare is different, so please contact Equibreed directly on 07917 865768, email us on enquiry@equineembryotransfer.co.uk or simply use the 'Get in touch' section to discuss the particular requirements of your mare. As part of our service, we offer contagious equine metritis CEM, Equine Viral Arteritis EVA and Equine Infectious Anaemia EIA testing. The following information is provided to help you choose the best strategy to get your mare in foal this season and to allow you to make a well informed decision.

Why choose equine Artificial Insemination (AI) for your mare?

  • Location of the stallion - semen can be shipped widely across the world, and the country, giving a virtually unlimited choice of stallions to breed your mare to, with no need to transport the mare.
  • Availability of the stallion - many stallions are only available by artificial insemination (AI) due to competition pressures, and also injury concerns during covering.
  • Age and breeding history of your mare - artificial insemination (AI) is ideal in mares with reduced fertility and aged mares. There is a lower risk of uterine infection and the transmission of STDs.
  • Safer for the mare - artificial insemination (AI) avoids the risk of injury during natural covering.

What are the options for equine Artificial Insemination (AI)?

Fresh Semen

Fresh semen - Collected from the stallion, extended in a skim milk diluent, and inseminated into the mare immediately (within 1-2 hours) through artificial insemination (AI). Fresh semen from a fertile stallion should survive in the mare for 2 days. Ideally the mare should be inseminated 1-2 days before she ovulates. Fresh semen is ideal for mares of all ages, and is the preferable option for less fertile mares, problem mares, and older mares (above 15 years).

Frozen semen

Frozen semen - Once collected from the stallion is processed and frozen for future artificial insemination (AI) use. In order for it to be of reasonable quality, the stallion has to be fertile, and a known good ‘freezer’ (not all stallion semen freezes well) and it requires delicate and meticulous handling. After thawing the frozen semen usually only survives for 6 to 12 hours. Therefore to optimise the fertility of the frozen semen, the mare’s reproductive tract needs to be examined by ultrasound many times during oestrus to determine the best time for artificial insemination (AI). The pregnancy rates for frozen semen range from 0-70% depending on its quality and the fertility of the mare. We do not usually recommend using frozen semen in problem mares, or those over 15 years old. However individual cases can be discussed, and if the mare has a foal at foot she is likely to be more fertile than a barren or maiden mare.

Chilled semen

Chilled semen - Collected from the stallion, extended with a special diluent, and then cooled gently to 4 degrees in a special 'Equitainer'. Sometimes this semen is also shipped in special Styrofoam boxes. If the stallion is fertile and the semen is handled carefully then the semen should last for 1-2 days and retain good fertility. We usually try to inseminate the mare 1 day prior to her ovulating to optimise fertility - hence the need for good communication and completed contracts prior to semen being requested. Chilled semen is suitable for most mares, and if the stallion has a good record of fertility then it is also suitable for less fertile and older mares.

Pregnancy scans

Pregnancy scans - We strongly recommend that all mares are examined for pregnancy at 14-15 days after ovulation to help rule out and manage twins, and also to implement treatments for infertility. It is also important to have the follow up scans at 24 and 42 days of gestation to ensure all is progressing well, and no embryonic loss has occurred.

If you think reproduction through artificial insemination (AI) might be suitable for your horse, please call Equibreed on 07917 865768, email us on enquiry@equineembryotransfer.co.uk or simply use the 'Get in touch' section on this page.

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