Fertility in insemination with SpermVital semen
A doctoral project by Halldor Felde Berg has investigated fertility, semen quality and dissolution time using SpermVital-processed semen for insemination of cattle.
The doctoral project has been conducted by Halldor Felde Berg under the auspices of SpermVital, the Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences and Norwegian University of Life Sciences with support from the Research Council of Norway
The outcome of insemination depends on several factors, including semen quality, the method of semen processing, and the genital environment of the animal that is inseminated. Successful insemination in cattle also requires proper breast observation in order to be able to estimate the right time for insemination in relation to heat and ovulation. Increased knowledge about fertility that can lead to more effective control of reproduction in cattle is of interest to breeding organizations and cattle farmers around the world.
Make the insemination-time more flexible
SpermVital AS is a subsidiary of Geno, which has developed a semen processing technology in which sperm are immobilized in an alginate gel prior to cryopreservation (deep freezing). SpermVital technology has been shown to contribute to the protection of sperm from damage caused by freezing, which has been shown to result in an improvement in sperm quality and longer post-thaw life compared to conventionally processed sperm. The immobilisation of the sperm cells in alginate gel allows a gradual release of sperm into the bar for a long time after insemination. By prolonging the time when viable sperm are present in the intestine, SpermVital technology can make the time of insemination more flexible compared to the time of ovulation and increase the likelihood of fertilization. Consequently, the use of SpermVital semen can contribute to increased flexibility in insemination and increased cost efficiency through improved fertility.
More knowledge about SpermVital sperm
The main purpose of the doctoral dissertation was to obtain more knowledge about SpermVital semen, especially about dissolution of the alginate gel, sperm quality after immobilization and freezing, and fertility after artificial insemination performed at standard time in relation to rupture and ovulation. The research aimed to investigate the sperm quality in immobilized sperm by measuring sperm's swimming properties, energy conversion, viability and DNA quality after thawing and a stress test. Research has shown that single insemination with SpermVital can advantageously be performed early and provide as good fertility as with double insemination with conventional semen.
In the doctoral project, we wanted to compare fertility using SpermVital sperm with two different sperm concentrations and standard sperm after standard time insemination, and to examine whether there was a relationship between fertility and sperm quality. Another sub-goal of the research was to gain better insight into NRF-cow ovarian physiology; how it responds to breast synchrony when it comes to ovulation time, breast activity, and progesterone concentration in milk.
Better sperm quality for SpermVital sperm
In the doctoral dissertation, similar fertility was demonstrated between SpermVital semen and standard processed semen, even at a reduced number of sperm per insemination dose. Sperm laboratory tests showed better sperm quality measured by motility, viability and energy content of SpermVital sperm compared to standard sperm, which may explain why insemination with SpermVital sperm with reduced number of sperm could produce as good fertility as the control sperm.
SpermVital technology is exported to several countries and used for insemination in various large stages. Our studies on the quality of semen from different large stages showed higher quality in SpermVital semen compared to standard semen after placement in a 38 °C (100,4 °F) heating cabinet. The findings indicate that SpermVital technology is suitable for use in combination with freezing semen from different breeds.
Insemination time after synchronization
In Norway and globally, there is an increase in herd size, which can be challenging in connection with fertility management. As a result of this increase, it has become more common to synchronize the animal's brows to achieve good fertility. However, the available literature on the response to such treatment in animals of the NR breed is limited. We synchronized rut and ovulation in a group of NR heifers and cows without finding indications that animals of the NR breed respond differently to such synchronization than cattle from other breeds, despite findings showing breed differences in heat expression. The results provide information on the optimal time for post-synchronization insemination. This information is also of great value for future research, for example in the design of insemination studies examining different variants of processed semen and variations in the number of sperm per dose.
The SpermVital gel can be detected in the cow 24 hours after insemination
SpermVital technology is believed to provide increased flexibility in the timing of insemination in relation to ovulation. By endoscopy of the cow’s uterus, we showed that the SpermVital gel can be detected in the cow 24 hours after insemination (see figure). Good mobility and viability of the sperm were demonstrated after incubation of SpermVital gel in the overnight ovary (slaughterhouse organs). The results indicate a prolonged release of good quality sperm from the SpermVital gel, which may enable successful insemination over an extended cattle window.
The findings made in the doctoral thesis have a direct practical and economic impact on the production and use of SpermVital semen. It has shown that sperm cells processed with SpermVital technology are of high quality, and that insemination with SpermVital sperm containing reduced sperm concentrations results in competitive fertility results.