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This is when the nightmare began. For two years, she tried to impregnate Mystery with no luck. They eventually learned that Mystery had endometritis, and could not carry an embryo. Without an embryo, embryo transfer was out of the question. To make matters worse, Liostro was fairly old, and the quality of his semen was not what it needed to be for embryo transfer. Determined to get a baby from Mystery, she found Dr. Elaine Carnevale. “If it wasn’t for Dr. Carnevale, I probably would have cut my losses and gotten out of the breeding business,” Rose admits.

We learned that veterinarian Dr. Carnevale is the world leader in research and development of Oocyte Transfer and ICSI at Colorado State University. (ICSI stands for intracytoplasmic sperm injection.) Dr. Carnevale has her master’s degree in equine reproduction and her PhD in Reproductive Physiology from the University of Wisconsin. She is on the cutting edge of equine fertility research at CSU.

Dr. Carnevale explains that Oocyte Transfer is used when you have a mare that has difficulty conceiving, yet is still producing eggs. “You remove the egg from the follicle of the donor mare, and place the egg into a recipient mare’s oviduct, and then using artificial insemination, impregnate the recipient mare.” The doctor adds, “The age of the donor mare is a huge factor as to how successful this procedure is, as well as the quality of the semen. I’ve had success rates as high as 80%, but then there are times when it’s as low as 35%, especially for mares over 20.”

She went on to explain another procedure done at CSU called ICSI. ICSI can be used with stallion problems such as a stallion producing low sperm count or a limited supply of frozen semen. During ICSI, the sperm is injected directly into the [previously extracted] egg, or oocyte, in the lab and then the fertilized egg is placed into the recipient mare.

Oocyte Transfer was the answer to Rose’s dilemma with Mystery. Rose sent Mystery to Dr. Carnevale and they were able to take one of Mystery’s eggs and place it into a recipient mare. They inseminated the recipient mare, with her becoming pregnant on the first try with semen from the much younger stallion Contendor. Eleven months later Rose had her first Oocyte Transfer foal from her beloved Mystery! It seemed like a miracle.

Since then SE Farms purchased a Hanoverian mare named Piktorial by Pikadero, strictly to be used for breeding. They’ve had great success with ET with Piktorial, especially because she often double or triple ovulates in a single cycle, which increases the odds for a successful ET. Piktorial is eight years old and has had eight foals, six of them products of ET: three by Liostro and three by other sires. Another Hanoverian grand prix mare Rose bred using ET was L’Vienna. When crossed with Contendor, this mare has produced her own promising approved BWP Holsteiner stallion, Claire de Lune SE. Ridden by Robyn Fisher, a USEA international event rider, Claire’s early career boasts a championship in February 2009 at the Ram Tap Horse Trials where he was first in dressage, first in cross country as well as stadium (see his photo on the cover of WT).

In the meantime, Rose sent Mystery, now getting older, back to Dr. Elaine Carnevale in Colorado to extract her eggs and perform ICSI transfer with semen from the Hanoverian jumper stallion For Pleasure. Chuckling, Rose commented, “I made a deal with God; if I got two babies using ICSI then I would name the babies for Him.” Sure enough, Rose’s prayer was answered. For His Glory and For His Pleasure are the first two ICSI babies at SE Farms.

Editor’s note: For more information on these two breeders using embryo transfer, please go to their websites, and

SE Farms’ USA, by Liostro and L'Vienna, sister to Clair de Lune

Mystery from SE Farms shown by Rose Sullivan's daughter Mickey Trescott.rescott.

SE Farms' ET colt named Aria by Ariadus.


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