Processing and Storage of Frozen Semen
We have multiple storage tanks in our clinic to facilitate the storage of frozen semen. We also have the equipment to freeze sperm in our dedicated reproduction laboratory.
Semen collection and freezing
We collect and freeze sperm from pedigree studs. We recommend considering freezing your stud’s sperm when they are at optimal fertile age (2-6 years). Canines over 6 years are likely to show an increase in sperm abnormalities and a decrease in sperm count due to their age.
Collections for freezing are normally booked on a Tuesday or Friday morning. A “teaser bitch” (bitch in season) is highly recommended as it greatly improves our chances of collecting a sperm sample. Without a teaser bitch the chances of collecting a sample adequate for freezing is low if the dog has not been collected from before. Pedigree papers are required for all collection and freezing appointments.
The process only takes a few minutes in consultation. The semen sample is seperated into 3 fractions and the second fraction containing sperm is analysed for quality using the latest technology to count the live and dead sperm and assess the sperm for abnormalities. Following this, the sperm is prepared in an extender and then frozen in straws using liquid nitrogen. The whole process takes about 4 hours in the laboratory. Following freezing, a test straw is thawed to assess the quality of the sperm after the freezing process. A full report is then emailed to you regarding the quality and amount of sperm collected.
Quality of frozen sperm
The freezing process damages sperm and this cannot be avoided. We expect that half of the sperm will die due to the freezing process. Therefore frozen semen samples contain less viable sperm compared with fresh samples. Also less sperm are inseminated than with a natural mating or fresh artificial insemination. If available, a fresh sample will always be better than frozen.
Frozen semen storage and transfer
Frozen semen is stored in liquid nitrogen at minus 196 degrees Celsius. It is stored in this manner to preserve the semen and can be stored indefinitely, in theory. It may be stored in pellets (in phials) or in straws. For local transfers, we have a dry shipper which allows you to drive the frozen semen to the destination. All other transfers, such as interstate and overseas, we recommend you contact a frozen semen transfer company to assist you in arranging the transfer.