Summary. Eight female pumas were treated i.m. with 1000 (N = 5) or 2000 (N = 3) i.u. PMSG followed 84 h later by 800 i.u. hCG. Eggs were recovered 24–26 h after hCG from ovarian follicles by using laparoscopy and transabdominal aspiration. Mature eggs were inseminated in vitro 4–6 h later whereas immature eggs were cultured for 24 h and then inseminated. Electroejaculates from 3 pumas were diluted with mKRB before insemination to evaluate the influence of sperm concentration on fertilization. Seven of 8 pumas responded with follicle development, and 140 eggs were recovered from 145 follicles (96·6%; 77 mature, 43 immature, 20 degenerate eggs; mean ± s.e.m., 20·0 ± 5·9 eggs/female). Overall fertilization rate was 43·5% (total eggs fertilized = 40) despite using inseminates containing 82·99% pleiomorphic spermatozoa. Of the 36 immature oocytes matured in vitro and inseminated, 12 were fertilized even though 50% of the inseminating spermatozoa contained an acrosomal defect. Fertilization rate of mature oocytes collected from follicles appeared unrelated (P > 0·05) to PMSG dose or number of spermatozoa/inseminate. This study demonstrates that a high proportion of follicular eggs can be recovered laparoscopically from adult pumas treated with PMSG and hCG. These gametes are capable of being fertilized in vitro (immediately or after maturation in vitro) even with low quality semen with a high incidence of sperm pleiomorphisms.
Keywords: in vitro fertilization; puma; oocyte maturation; teratospermia