Monday Magic

by Charlotte Heavisides on 15 June 2020.

When a bull serves a cow naturally around 5ml of semen is needed to produce a calf, containing roughly 5 billion sperm cells in total. But a straw of semen for artificial insemination (AI) requires a mere 7 million cells, and sexed semen as little as 1 million cells to produce a calf. How can AI work?

The answer is in the cow’s cervix. With natural service the semen is deposited outside the cervix in the back of the vagina and has to make its own way through the 3 inch long cervix to reach the uterus, which takes a lot of energy and a lot of hours. With AI, the AI gun containing the semen straw is passed all the way through the cervix and the semen is deposited directly in the body of the uterus – so no cervical sperm swimathon needed! The sperm dose can therefore be reduced thousands of times without compromising the conception rate and Superbull can produce thousands of calves with AI instead of a few dozen with natural service – magic.

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