Advances in Holding and Cryopreservation of Equine Oocytes and Embryos
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Methods for holding of oocytes and embryos during shipment as well as for their cryopreservation can greatly aid equine reproductive management. Oocytes can be held at room temperature overnight or at cooler temperatures for two nights without affecting maturation or embryo development after intracytoplasmic sperm injection. In contrast, methods for cryopreservation of equine oocytes that support high rates of embryo development have not yet been established. Equine embryos may be held overnight at temperatures from 5°C to 19°C without reduction in viability, but longer holding periods, or higher holding temperatures, may be detrimental. Small equine embryos (<300 μm), either in vivo derived or in vitro produced, can be slow frozen or vitrified successfully. In the last decade, methods have been developed to allow in vivo-derived expanded blastocysts, up to Day 8, to be vitrified successfully after blastocoele collapse. These methods of shipment and preservation allow mare owners in remote locations to have access to sophisticated assisted reproductive technologies.
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