Protocol for Collection and Shipment of Ovaries for Harvesting Oocytes for Embryo Production

Printable Resource

Untimely death of a valuable broodmare is an unfortunate consequence of horse ownership. Gamete rescue, collection of the mare’s ovaries to obtain oocytes and propagate genetics, is a technology available at the Equine Reproduction Laboratory. We offer 24/7 support for referring veterinarians and mare owners interested in pursuing this procedure.


  1. Contact the Equine Reproduction Laboratory as soon as possible to alert the assisted reproductive techniques team for preparation and obtain contracts for procedures. Download and complete the assisted reproduction contract.
  2. Remove ovaries aseptically as soon as possible (see instructions).
  3. Package ovaries for shipment: an Equitainer®, Styrofoam box, or similar insulated shipping container can be used
    1. Do NOT place on ice or use frozen coolant cans.
    2. Buffer/support ovarian tissue by surrounding with room temperature 1 L bags of saline.
    3. If shipping time will be under 2 hours, please ship at body temperature (37°C). If shipping time will be more than 2 hours, please ship at room temperature (15-20°C).
    4. Include ovary/mare identification in shipping container.
  4. Organize ovary transportation. Please contact us first to determine the best method to ship.
    1. Driver or courier service if close to the Equine Reproduction Laboratory
    2. Overnight transporter (FedEx® or UPS®)
    3. Counter-to-counter commercial plane flight followed by courier service from Denver International Airport (designated shipper status is required to ship on a plane)
    4. Chartered plane flight to Denver International Airport or Northern Colorado Regional Airport
  5. Identify the stallion and ship a small dose of cooled semen OR two (2) straws of frozen semen. Either option MUST arrive within 24 hours once ovaries are received; ideally frozen semen would arrive the same day as ovaries.
  6. Contact the Equine Reproduction Laboratory to confirm the ovaries and semen were received. Prepare a recipient mare following notification from the Equine Reproduction Laboratory if the embryo is intended to be shipped back to the referring veterinarian’s facility.

Shipping address

Equine Reproduction Laboratory
Colorado State University
Attn: ART
3101 Rampart Road
Fort Collins, CO 80521
Phone: (970) 491-8626
Fax: (970) 491-7005

Fee schedule

Costs vary depending on services rendered. Please reference the assisted reproductive technology fee schedule for complete cost information.

Ovary collection guide


  • Palpation sleeves and exam gloves
  • Scalpel blade and scissors
  • Leak-proof plastic bags (3)
  • Room-temperature 1L saline bags (3)

Step-by-step instructions