The 16th Annual Conference of the European Society for Domestic Animal Reproduction (ESDAR), 29 August-1 September 2012, Dublin, Ireland

New semen processing technologies – no need for optimal insemination timing?

IC Oskam1, KE Waterhouse1, AH Alm-Kristiansen1, IS Grevle1, J Sunde1, RT Garmo1, G Klinkenberg2 1Biokapital AS, Hamar, Norway; 2Sintef, Norway

Enhancement in cattle production is the result of implementation of new biotechnological techniques and production practices. However, many studies report a decline in the fertility of dairy cattle. The causality for this decline is multifactorial and costs to control fertility impairment are expensive. Good herd fertility is based on regular breeding of cows with normal reproductive function. Based on several genetic components of infertility, genetic selection may in some cases be a proper approach for fertility improvement. However, pragmatic reproductive management including a proper AI program is required to keep fertility at an acceptable level and lower costs inherent to infertility. Successful AI requires survival of spermatozoa outside the body, replacement of spermatozoa into the female genital tract and identification of standing oestrus for optimal timing of insemination. Accurate detection of standing heat is one of the most problematic aspects of AI and complicates optimal timing of insemination. Today, reproductive technologies focus on the development of novel semen processing technologies that circumvent critical timing of insemination by extending the fertile life of spermatozoa in the female reproductive tract after insemination. The SpermVital technology intends to extend the shelf life of spermatozoa in the female reproductive tract after AI. Prevalent use of new semen processing technologies requires that they are successful, but also simple during its production and use, as well as being economical worthwhile in comparison to the more traditional AI techniques.