Practice tip

Non refereed - Practice tips are not peer reviewed

Intrauterine insemination

Graeme Pope, Principal Industry Consultant (Pigs), PIRSA Rural Solutions-Pig and Poultry Production Institute, Roseworthy Campus, Roseworthy, SA 5371, Australia

Intrauterine or deep uterine insemination (AI) is a recently developed pig breeding technique designed to deposit low-concentration liquid semen doses beyond the sow's cervix and directly into the uterine body. At present, there are several practical issues which prevent its routine commercial acceptance for on-farm use.

Because of difficulties with catheter insertion and increased risk of reproductive tract trauma and hemorrhage, intrauterine insemination is not recommended for gilt and parity-one sows. This technique requires trained inseminating staff and excellent estrus detection to avoid 'late' (post-ovulatory) inseminations. Staff already competent with cervical AI must be re-trained to perform the new technique. In addition, accurate assessment of semen concentration and high quality semen processing and packaging are essential. A long-term semen extender must be used, and sound semen storage and handling methods are required.

Claimed benefits of intrauterine AI over conventional AI

As a lower concentration of semen is used (1.0 to 2.0 billion sperm per dose, compared to the more conventional AI dose of 3.0 billion sperm), boar stud inventories, and therefore the cost per dose of semen, may be reduced. There is less semen backflow during and after inseminations. More rapid genetic gain can be attained through increased doses produced per ejaculate and therefore there is a greater return on investment from selected boars. Greater use may be made of low-concentration-ejaculate boars. Finally, this technique improves the potential use of single-sex semen doses.

-- Graeme Pope