Understanding Semen Management in Artificial Insemination Source: k9reproduction.com
Artificial Insemination (AI) involves the deliberate collection and insertion of semen into a female animal's reproductive tract, bypassing the traditional mating process. This method ensures that only the highest quality semen is used, having undergone rigorous checks. A distinct advantage of AI is the flexibility it offers, allowing breeding between animals from separate locations or at varied times. Furthermore, employing semen from genetically superior males for elite females boosts productivity. This enhanced efficiency in breeding also paves the way for cost-effective animal rearing, as the need to raise many male livestock diminishes.
Each species has its unique semen collection frequency and preservation approach. For instance, well-nourished bulls can produce up to 10 billion sperm cells daily, ejaculating roughly 5-10 billion sperm with each collection. Their semen is best stored in specialized canisters filled with liquid nitrogen, preserving the semen at chilling temperatures of -196℃.
Horses, on the other hand, can produce about 5 billion sperms per ejaculation and typically have their semen collected thrice weekly. Stored at 5℃, horse semen retains its fertility for about a day, with frozen storage being less common. Pigs, producing between 100-300 million sperms per ejaculation, can have their semen collected 2-5 times weekly. Preserved at 15℃, the fertility of cooled pig semen lasts for two days.
Beyond storage, the quality of the semen extender used in AI is paramount. Effective extenders not only nourish but also shield sperm cells from potential damage during cooling and transportation, all the while preventing bacterial growth. For instance, bull semen can be expanded to 65 times its initial volume, while both horse and pig semen can be diluted to about 40 times.
To guarantee effective use, it's crucial to measure the concentration and mobility of semen pre and post-dilution. Advanced tools, including the CASA systems and iSperm analyzer, make this task easier. The iSperm, in particular, offers breeders the convenience of assessing semen quality on an iPad mini, ensuring top-quality semen is used in AI whenever required.