Semen Collection At Stallion AI Services


Blue Chip visited Stallion AI (artificial insemination) Services to watch the process of taking a semen collection, and the steps which follow; freezing and storing the semen.

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Step 1: Preparing the artificial vagina (AV)

Stallion AI Services use a Missouri AV, a doubled layered latex liner which is filled to a temperature of 45-50°c for point of collection. Once the AV has been filled with water the AV is assembled. First it is covered with a leather case, a semen collection bottle is then prepared to harvest the semen. A filter is inserted into the bottle to ensure there is no smegma or gel getting in contact with the semen. A bottle warmer is then put onto the bottle to protect the semen from temperature shock and UV rays.

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Step 2: Preparing the stallion

The knees of the stallion are bandaged to help protect them while they’re on the dummy mare.

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Step 3: Preparing the AV for collection

At the stage the AV has already been filled. Lubrication is applied and the pressure and temperature of the AV are tested.

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Step 4: Preparing for collection

The stallions penis is washed with copious amounts of warm water to get rid of any debris or smegma before the collection process.

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Step 5: Taking the collection

The horse mounts the dummy mare, whilst inserting his penis into the AV. After a few thrusts the semen has been deposited.

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Step 6: Analysing the semen

First the semen is analysed in it’s raw state. The motility of the semen is then looked at by putting a 10 micro litre droplet on the slide of the microscope, this is a quick analysis that checks the semen is okay. A concentration reading will then be carried out of the semen to make to see what concentration the stallion has given using a nuclear cell counter machine. This is one of the most accurate ways of testing the concentration of the sperm cells.

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Step 7: Preparing the semen for freezing

Semen doesn’t live very long in it’s raw state to it has to have centrifuge medium added to it, at a one to one concentration. Once mixed the liquid is then poured into the centrifuge tubes and the semen is then spun at 1000gs for 20 minutes, on a liquid cushion. The cushion is added to the centrifuge, enabling 95% of the sperm cells to be harvested. Typically the slower the semen is spun the less can be harvested. The tubes are then placed in the centrifuge machine.

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Step 8: Chilling the semen in preparation for freezing

The semen is chilled for 30 mins before the freezing machine is switched on. The straws are then inserted into the freezing machine. The straws are then removed from the machine and then plunged into liquid nitrogen at -196 °c.

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Step 9: Storing the frozen semen

After freezing the semen has to be stored in nitrogen containers. Stallion AI have two store rooms, one for UK and the other export. Each container holds around 250,000 straws, where they remain until requested by the mare owner.

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