Witness the Birth of a Special Foal

My Special Girl is carrying the first foal produced by ICSI.

The University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine will place a camera in My Special Girl’s foaling stall, starting February 26. You can monitor the foaling here at Foal Cam. Right now you can see videos showing the pregnancy sonograms and more here at Songrams.

My Special Girl is due to foal in mid March. Once the foal is born, Penn Vet will hold a naming contest.

Why this mare and foal? That’s easy. My Special Girl was the first successful pregnancy using the advanced reproductive technique intracytoplasmic sperm injection, known as ICSI, which involves injecting a single sperm into a mature egg. This ICSI embryo was transferred to My Special Girl in early April 2013.

ICSI also has great potential for use of frozen sperm from deceased stallions to carry on a legacy. In addition, the procedure can be used for mares who cannot get pregnant or carry their offspring themselves in the conventional manner, as all the donor mare needs to do is produce an egg. ICSI is a common procedure in human medicine that revolutionized the treatment of male infertility.

My Special Girl, an 11-year-old Thoroughbred, was donated to New Bolton Center’s herd of horses used for teaching veterinary students. The egg for the foal came from a Thoroughbred-Cleveland Bay cross mare. The sperm was from frozen semen from a long-deceased Thoroughbred-Quarter Horse cross stallion that was part of the Hofmann Center’s teaching program.

The foal will remain in the New Bolton Center family, as it will be adopted by Rose Nolen-Walston, DVM, New Bolton Center Assistant Professor of Medicine, who lives on a nearby farm. Lisa Fergusson of Cochranville, once on Canada’s Olympic Eventing team, will be the foal’s trainer when it is ready to begin its athletic career.

For more details on this story, including photos and video and addition information on the procedure, click here.

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