Minimum number of spermatozoa required for normal fertility after deep intrauterine insemination in non-sedated sows

in Reproduction

A fibreoptic endoscope procedure for non-surgical deep intrauterine insemination in non-sedated sows has been reported. However, the endoscope is an expensive and fragile instrument, and is unsuitable for use under field conditions. The aim of this study was to determine the minimum number of spermatozoa required to maintain optimal fertility using a flexible catheter (1.8 m in length, 4 mm in diameter) for deep intrauterine insemination in 2-6 parity non-sedated sows. Crossbred sows were treated with eCG 24 h after weaning and with hCG 72 h later to induce oestrus. Deep intrauterine insemination was performed 36 h after hCG treatment in 117, 126, 60 and 69 sows with 15.0, 5.0, 2.5 or 1.0 x 10(7) spermatozoa in 10 ml, respectively. Weaned sows (n = 147) not treated with hormones and used for standard artificial insemination (AI) (two inseminations per oestrus with 3 x 10(9) spermatozoa in 100 ml) served as controls. The flexible catheter was passed successfully through the cervix into one uterine horn in 95.4% of the sows in an average of 3.7 +/- 0.09 min. Farrowing rates after deep intrauterine insemination with 15 or 5 x 10(7) spermatozoa did not differ from those of the control group (82.9, 76.2 and 83.0%, respectively), but a significant decrease (P < 0.001) was observed in sows inseminated with 2.5 or 1.0 x 10(7) spermatozoa (46.7 and 39.1%, respectively). In contrast, the number of spermatozoa inseminated did not affect prolificacy. Laparotomy revealed that the tip of the flexible catheter reached approximately the anterior third of the uterine horn. Although deep intrauterine insemination was performed in only one uterine horn, the percentages of embryos collected from the tip of both uterine horns 2 days after deep insemination were not significantly different. The results show that in comparison with standard AI, a 20-60-fold reduction in the number of spermatozoa inseminated and an 8-10-fold reduction in the dose volume can be achieved without decreasing fertility when semen is deposited non-surgically into the upper first third of one uterine horn.

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