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Stress preconditioning of semen before cryopreservation improves fertility and increases the number of offspring born: a prospective randomised study using a porcine model

Horváth, A., Szenci, O., Nagy, K., Végh, L., Pribenszky, Cs.
Reproduction, fertility, and development 2016 v.28 no.4 pp. 475-481
ambient temperature, boars, cryopreservation, estrus, farrowing, farrowing rate, models, piglets, pregnancy, progeny, reproductive performance, semen, sows, sperm motility, spermatozoa
The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of applying sublethal stress treatment at room temperature, before cryopreservation (hydrostatic pressure (HP): 40MPa, 80min) of 34 boar ejaculate samples, on post-thawed motility and sow fertility. Sows (n=102) were randomly allocated into equal groups inseminated with HP-treated or untreated frozen–thawed semen. Sows were inseminated twice, 10h apart, with 6×109 spermatozoa per dose without oestrus synchronisation. Rates of non-return of oestrus and pregnancy, and total numbers of piglets and live piglets were significantly higher (P<0.05) in the HP-treated group. There was also a numerical, albeit non-significant (P>0.05), improvement in the farrowing rate in the HP-treated group. Although the number of live piglets per litter decreased approximately 15% in both groups by 42 days after farrowing, but this remained significantly higher in the HP-treated group. Although total and progressive sperm motility were significantly (P<0.001) higher in the HP-treated group, there were no significant differences (P>0.05) in these parameters between pregnant and non-pregnant sows in either group; thus motility can indicate, but not predict, improved fertility. In conclusion, HP treatment, with sperm cryopreservation, increases in vitro sperm motility and improves reproductive performance without adversely affecting the health of the piglets.