76 (3) 195-200

Semen handling in porcine AI centers: the Belgian situation

In the present study, the practice of semen examination and semen processing in Belgian porcine artificialinsemination (AI) centers was evaluated by means of a written questionnaire. The questionnaire was sent to 50AI centers and 38 filled it in and returned it (response rate 76%). The size of the herds in the responding centers variedbetween 4 and 165 boars, with a mean of 45. In 80% of the AI centers, the semen doses contained at least 3billion spermatozoa. Sperm morphology and motility were considered the most important parameters forsperm quality evaluation. Semen morphology was systematically examined in 71% of AI centers. A lower limitof 80% normal spermatozoa was used in 66% of the AI centers. Motility was monitored systematically in everyejaculate in 94% of AI centers. A lower limit of 70% motility was used. Motility assessment was performed visuallyin all but one of the AI centers.Ninety-seven percent of Belgian AI centers used a short-term semen extender (storage for 3 days). Since sementransport times are short in Belgium, there is no necessity for long-term storage of diluted porcine semen.In 50% of the AI centers, long-term extenders (storage for 7 days) were used on a part of the collected semen,mainly for storage over the weekend. In some AI centers, extender solutions at room temperature are added tothe ejaculate, apparently without negative effects on fertility. Antibiotics are seldom supplemented to the extendedporcine semen. The semen doses contained in most cases 100 ml extended semen.The present study shows that the Belgian porcine AI centers generally incorporate semen quality examinationsin their daily routine, especially for motility assessment. In a minority of AI centers, especially the smaller ones,the semen morphology examination should be done more systematically. This focus on semen quality, togetherwith the consistent use of a sufficient number of spermatozoa per semen dose, reflects the concern of Belgian AIcenters to produce quality semen doses. In some AI centers, improvements in semen handling could be made,especially concerning the temperature of the extender and its preservation conditions.

Full text: 
pp 195-200
Original article(s)