Producing a foal through such techniques has been accomplished only twice before, and neither effort has been replicated. A team from the Goulburn Valley Equine Hospital in Monash announced on Wednesday that a foal born on March 9 was produced by injecting a single sperm into an egg, a technique developed to assist infertile humans. Another mare at the hospital is expected to give birth shortly.
The thoroughbred horse industry prohibits artificially assisted breeding, but there is growing concern that too many valuable genes are being lost because of infertility and the lack of frozen sperm storage. Great racetrack champions of the past, such as Phar Lap, Kingston Town and John Henry, had no progeny because they were castrated at an early age to aid their careers.