Animal lovers can get a lesson in the birds and the bees thanks to a camera that will capture a horse giving birth live.
The University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine has a “Foal Cam” inside the stall of a pregnant mare, My Special Girl, that began rolling on Feb. 26.
“We hope that sharing the birth of this foal will give the world a window into New Bolton Center,” said Dr. Corinne Sweeney, associate dean of the center.
The live feed will start rolling ahead of the birth in case the foal decides to arrive early and will remain on even if there are complications, according to the doctors.
Even more fascinating than the broadcast is the manner in which My Special Girl was impregnated.
“She is just a surrogate mother carrying the baby for the donor mare, who supplied the egg, and the donor stallion, who supplied the sperm,” said Dr. Regina Turner of Penn Vet.
The school used advanced reproductive technique intracytoplasmic sperm injection, known as ICSI, which involves injecting a single sperm into a mature egg. Specialists transferred the embryo to My Special Girl in April 2013, according to a news release.
A Thoroughbred-Cleveland Bay cross mare provided the egg and a long-deceased Thoroughbred-Quarter Horse cross stallion provided the sperm, which came from frozen semen.
“We can create offspring even from a dead stallion,” Dr. Turner said.
The surrogate, My Special Girl, is an 11-year-old Thoroughbred used for teaching veterinary students.
Her pregnancy represents the first time ICSI has been completed successfully in the Delaware Valley, a procedure the doctors hope the school will replicate.
The doctors know the foal’s sex, but declined to share that information.
Whether a filly or a colt, anyone can weigh in on the new horse’s name since Penn Vet will be holding a naming contest for the new horse.