I am about to inseminate my stallion's frozen semen into a mare. A vet just told me that she would not draw the semen into a container first, then draw again into an insemination syringe because each transfer causes significant sperm death. She uses only the "gun", which only necessitates one transfer of each straw, even if using 5 straws. I have not been able to clearly understand the mechanics of how to best get the semen into the insemination pipette. Can I just draw each straw into one syringe and inseminate this multiple-straw insemination with one syringe and one pipette, if the syringe and pipette are kept at body temp?
I would agree that an insemination gun is the most efficient, however, if you don't have one...that doesn't do you much good!
Before guns were invented, most people I know would place thawed semen directly into a syringe. What worked best was to remove the plunger from the insemination syringe, place something over the tip of the syringe so the semen does not flow out. A sterile syringe tip cap or your clean (sterile) gloved finger would work. Cut one end off of each straw, place cut side down into the syringe and then cut the "other" end off so the semen flows directly into the syringe. Obviously, it's very important to keep the tip of the insemination syringe closed. Also wise to work over a clean surface.
Then, place the syringe plunger back at the opening of the syringe, snug enough to keep semen from coming out when you slowly point the tip of the syringe up. Then you can advance the plunger to remove air in the syringe. If you have not done this before, I strongly recommend you practice with water in another syringe. Also, for insemination you should use a syringe that is non - spermicidal, they do not have a rubber tip on the plunger.
Keep in mind, semen is damaged by exposure to air, temperature shock and light. Very important to keep these to a minimum.
This explanation is for insemination without extender. I'm assuming from your question, you are not placing the semen into extender...is this correct?
Do you know how to safely place the pipette through the cervix and into the uterus? This is very important. It is possible to severely damage a mare's uterus with an insemination pipette.
Do you know how to get the semen all the way through the pipette into the uterus?
Do you know how to properly clean and prepare a mare for insemination?
Will you use a speculum or a gloved arm?
If you have not inseminated mares before, I highly recommend you observe several mares being inseminated by someone who is very experienced, ask questions and be absolutely sure you know what you're doing.
Hope this is helpful and I wish you great success!
As long as the container that is being used to pool the thawed semen into is warmed to body temperature (and kept there); sterile; and made of an inert material (e.g glass or plastic) there is no reason why it should "cause significant sperm death"...
We routinely will pool semen into a warmed, sterile, 15-ml centrifuge tube or orange-stoppered Vacutainer, and then draw the semen into the pipette/syringe.
Using a standard bovine insemination gun to inseminate multiple straws required repeated removal and replacement of the gun/sheath in and through the cervix to reload each separate straw, and each time it is passed through the vagina and cervix it will pick up pathogens and transfer them into the uterus, which in my opinion represents a great threat.
If inseminating multiple straws and not wishing to pool the semen as described above, we would recommend use of Minitube's "Universal" insemination pipette, which does allow multiple straw insemination without repeated removal from the uterus. There is a concern about aspiration of air between straws, but with a little care that can be avoided.
Thank you both for your helpful comments. I have successfully inseminated fresh semen and am comfortable doing that. My concern was about the increased fragility of the frozen, which I have not inseminated before. and different recommendations I am getting on transfering it. One vet, who is very experienced with frozen, uses only an insemination gun in order to avoid an extra step/container. She says she does not draw out the insemination tube, but holds it in place in the uterus while she reloads each required straw in succession, in order to avoid repeated entry through the cervix and also exposure of the semen to air, another container. Another experienced inseminator says he finds the guns inconvenient and uses the method you describe. But the most interesting thing he said was to NOT have the water bath at 37C, but at whatever the ambient handling temperature would be, in order to avoid exposing the semen to varying temps. This would mean a cooler water bath thaw with one final increase in temp in the uterus. He says this has been extremely successful because the semen cannot cope well with up and down temp changes. I'd love to know what you think of this. Also, the sterile syringe, as suggested by Solo, seems to be close to eliminating one container by going directly to the syringe, yet it still exposes it to air.
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