Although the use of fresh semen in the Irish dairy AI industry only accounts for 5% of total AI usage, this may peak to over 25% during the spring breeding season due to the increased demand for Irish proven sires of high genetic merit. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of storage of fresh semen for up to 7 d at ambient temperature on fertilization and embryo development in vitro, and on the ability of sperm to penetrate artificial mucus in vitro. In vitro matured bovine oocytes were inseminated with fresh semen stored in a caprogen-based diluent, with or without prior Percoll separation. Irrespective of sire, storage of fresh semen at ambient temperature for up to 7 d post collection had no effect on cleavage rate or blastocyst development after IVF. In addition, blastocyst quality, as assessed by the proportion of blastocysts hatching from the zona, was not affected by semen storage. Higher numbers of fresh sperm migrated through artificial mucus on Day 0 (day of semen collection) compared with frozen-thawed sperm. On Day 1 and 2 postcollection there was no difference in the number of sperm migrating through the mucus, but storage of sperm at ambient temperature for longer than 2 d resulted in a significant decline in their ability to penetrate mucus compared with frozen sperm from the same ejaculate. In conclusion, bovine sperm retain the ability to fertilize oocytes in vitro for up to 7 d following storage at ambient temperature. However, the ability of sperm to migrate through artificial mucus in vitro is severely depressed after 2 d storage which may have significant implications for the ability of these sperm to reach the site of fertilization in vivo after AI.
University College Dublin ->