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Featured News: Big Star Breedings Available at SBS Italia

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January 29, 2015

Big Star - Jumping 1 SBS Italia is pleased to announce they will be breeding mares with frozen semen from the famed KWPN stallion, Big Star, during the 2015 breeding season. The frozen semen breedings from Big Star (Quick Star x Jolanda x Nimmerdor) will be managed by Stallion AI Services in the United Kingdom. They will be sending a limited number of breedings from Big Star to AI centers within the European Union including Italy, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium and Southern Ireland. However, SBS Italia will be the only facility in Italy where Big Star’s semen will be available.

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Featured Blog: Cryopreservation of Equine Embryos

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January 30, 2015

Embryo vitrification doesn't sound much like "freezing embryos,” but the end product certainly is a cryopreserved equine embryo, frozen in liquid nitrogen for the preservation of genetics and transfer into a recipient mare at a later time. For the sake of some readers of this blog, an embryo is the result of fertilizing an oocyte (egg) with sperm and allowing the initial stages of development to occur. Embryo vitrification is the process whereby we freeze equine embryos for storage for indefinite periods of time prior to transfer into a recipient mare. We have the technology to cryopreserve equine sperm and equine embryos, but not equine oocytes. Herein lays the answer to the most common question that comes up in conversation regarding this blog topic. Some readers assume that since we can freeze the male generated sperm, we can likewise freeze the female generated oocyte. Unfortunately, due to some very sensitive cytoskeletal components in the oocyte, the technology does not exist to freeze equine oocytes. As we proceed, you will understand the process of embryo vitrification and we will delve into areas of research that are improving the success rates of vitrified embryos in generating live foals.

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Featured Question

How do you test the quality of frozen semen?

We perform a thorough post-thaw evaluation on 2 pooled straws from every ejaculate frozen. After thawing, the semen is cultured to confirm the absence of bacterial growth and sperm motility is evaluated both visually and using a Hamilton-Thorne CEROS model automated motility analyzer. We perform this motility evaluation after the thawed semen is diluted in extender and incubated at 37°C for 30 minutes. Computer assisted sperm analysis (CASA) allows objective evaluation of sperm motility and provides information on total and progressive motility as well as velocity parameters. However, one must remember that although motility is an indicator of relative cell health, fertilization is a complex process that requires numerous functional attributes of both sperm and egg. Therefore the true fertility of this or any frozen semen can only be determined by properly timed insemination of reproductively healthy mares.

See Also: Quality Control is at the Core of the SBS Difference

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