Source: University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, 17 September 2020, photo credit: NewuNow Health & Wellness
For many livestock species, artificial insemination (AI) is standard. But it can be tricky to achieve success the first time, thanks to variability in ovulation timing across the herd.
Sperm remains viable for a day or two once they reach the oviduct, the tube connecting the uterus with the ovaries, in pigs and cattle. The amount of time sperm can be stored in the oviduct has a direct bearing on AI success; if ovulation happens just outside that window, the effort and expense of AI has to be repeated.
A new University of Illinois study identifies a naturally occurring sugar that slows the maturation of sperm in pigs, opening up the possibility of extending sperm storage time within the female reproductive tract and increasing the chances of successful fertilization through AI.