Morphokinetics of early equine embryo development in vitro using time-lapse imaging, and use in selecting blastocysts for transfer.
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The use of time-lapse imaging (TLI) in the evaluation of morphokinetics associated with invitro developmental competence is well described for human, cattle and pig embryos. It is generally accepted that embryos that complete early cleavage sooner are more likely to form blastocysts and that timing of later events, such as blastocyst formation and expansion, are predictive of implantation potential and euploid status. In the horse, morphokinetics as a predictor of developmental competence has received little attention. In this study we evaluated the morphokinetics of early equine embryo development invitro for 144 oocytes after intracytoplasmic sperm injection and report the timings of blastocyst development associated with ongoing pregnancy for the first time. There was a tendency for time of cytoplasmic extrusion and first cleavage to occur earlier in the embryos that went on to form blastocysts (n=19) compared with those that arrested, and for first cleavage to occur earlier in blastocysts that established pregnancies that were ongoing (n=4) compared with pregnancies that were lost (n=2). TLI was clinically useful in identifying blastocysts when evaluation of morphology on static imaging was equivocal.