Europe's first IVF foal born at Ghent University

A horse conceived by IVF has been born at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Ghent University - a first in Europe. Until now, it has not been possible to conceive a foal using IVF, which meant that more difficult and expensive techniques have had to be used.

The new technique was recently developed in the US. "With horses, it was difficult to figure out how to get the sperm to fertilise the egg using the in vitro technique," Marion Papas, a postdoctoral researcher at UGent, told TV channel AVS. "But recently, a colleague from the US found out how to do it. We were able to imitate this technique, and now we have this cute foal."

A horse's sperm is not strong enough to penetrate the wall of an egg in a laboratory environment, but researchers have now developed a substance that makes it possible. Until now, horses have been conceived using ICSI, where the sperm is artificially inserted into the egg, but this new IVF technique is less invasive and could save a lot of money in the long run.

Belgium is well known for its sport horse breeding, an industry for which this technique offers new possibilities. For example, the offspring of a valuable sport mare can be conceived without the mare having to be pregnant.

Dracarys, Europe's first IVF foal, is now three weeks old.


#FlandersNewsService | The faculty of veterinary medicine at Ghent University © PHOTO BELPRESS

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