The Fertility of Frozen Boar Sperm When used for Artificial Insemination


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Abstract

ContentsOne of the limits to practical use of frozen boar sperm involves the lowered fertility when used for artificial insemination. Years of studies have shown that 5–6 billion sperm (approximately 3 billion viable) used in single or multiple inseminations results in pregnancy rates most often between 60 and 70% and with litter sizes between nine and 10 pigs. Yet today, it is not uncommon for studies to report pregnancy rates from 70 to 85% and litter sizes with 11–12 pigs. While global statements about the incidence and reasons for higher fertility are not conclusive, incremental fertility improvements appear independently associated with use of a minimum number of viable sperm (1–2 billion), insemination timing that increases the probability that sperm will be present close to ovulation for groups of females, selection for boar sperm survival following cryopreservation, and modification of the freeze and thaw conditions using additives to protect sperm from oxidative damage. Studies show that techniques such as intrauterine and deep uterine insemination can provide an opportunity to reduce sperm numbers and that control of time of ovulation in groups of females can reduce the need for multiple inseminations and improve the chance for AI close to ovulation. However, optimal and consistent fertility with cryopreserved boar sperm may require a multifaceted approach that includes boar selection and screening, strategic use of additives during the freezing and thawing process, post-thaw evaluation of sperm and adjustments in sperm numbers for AI, assessment of female fertility and ovulation induction for single insemination. These sequenced procedures should be developed and incorporated into a quality control system for improved fertility when using minimal numbers of cryopreserved boar sperm.

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