The developing embryo/fetus bears antigens which are foreign to the mother and it could be expected that immune rejection of the conceptus would occur. One of the reasons why the fetus is not rejected is because a depression of the maternal immune response takes place during pregnancy. Serum from pregnant animals of several species has been shown to contain a factor, early pregnancy factor (EPF), which is immunosuppressive. EPF has been detected as early as six hours after mating and its detection could aid diagnosis of early pregnancy in all species.
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