CHESTER COUNTY, Pa. (CBS) — A special kind of fertility intervention is keeping alive the legacy of a Chester County horse.
It was made possible by a team of local veterinarians who joined up with other veterinarians across the country in Texas.
The procedure is similar to in vitro fertilization that is used with humans creating embryo’s in a Petri dish.
But this fertility intervention was done with a horse that had died and now her legacy is alive.
Lisa Gaudio is grateful for the miracle of birth of three foals that were born after the loss of their mother.
“I thought if I just got one it would be just a miracle but we had three,” said Gaudio.
The foals’ mother is Gaudio’s beloved 20-year-old half-Arabian horse named Kyrie Eleison.
“There was just something special about that mare,” she said.
But Kyrie suffered from a devastating hoof disease called laminitis.
Despite months of treatment she eventually had to be euthanized.
Gaudio loved Kyrie so much that she wanted to find a way to keep her legacy alive.
“For me and my husband it was just to have a part of her,” she said.
Thanks to modern technology they were able to do just that.
Doctors from Penn Vet’s New Bolton Center in Kennett Square removed the mare’s ovaries after she died.
Back in the lab at New Bolton, reproduction specialist Dr. Tamara Dobbie performed a painstaking process.
“We carefully dissected the ovaries and harvested the eggs,” said Dobbie.
Kyrie’s eggs were immediately sent to Texas A & M University for an advanced reproductive technique called intracytoplasmic sperm injection, or ICSI.
“With the ICSI procedure under an inverted microscope someone physically takes a single sperm cell and injects it into the egg,” explained Dobbe.
And it was successful, resulting in embryos.
“To think that we can take eggs from a deceased mare and we can recover eggs and get pregnancies and offspring I think it’s incredible,” she said.
The embryos were implanted in three surrogate mares in Texas.
The moms-to-be traveled to New Bolton Center where they gave birth.
“It’s such a lovely ending to a very sad story,” said Dobbie.
Two of Kyrie’s bouncing babies were born in January and the third foal was born at the beginning of February.
There’s Epona who has her mother’s eyes, according to Lisa.
“It melts you every day because that same eye is there,” she said of the little filly.
And there’s her sister, Elle Vitorina who Gaudio describes as really sweet.
And then there’s the feisty little colt named Big Man In Town.
“Three perfect little ones how do you beat that,” said a beaming Gaudio.
She also owned Kyrie’s great grandmother, grandmother and mom so the foals are the fourth generation.
Vets say using eggs from a deceased horse is not new, but they say what is amazing is that they were able to get three wonderful foals.