Collection and cryopreservation of epididymal semen allows an opportunity for a horse owner to retain genetic material (i.e. spermatozoa) in the untimely and unexpected event of a death or euthanasia of a valuable stallion. In addition, epididymal semen can also be collected and cryopreserved following elective castration. However, in general spermatozoa collected from ejaculated semen will yield better pregnancy rates than epididymal semen.
Learn more about salvaging epididymal sperm.
- Information: Please contact the Equine Reproduction Laboratory at Colorado State University and provide required information. Please fill out the Epididymal Semen Collection Information Form to send with the shipment; fax a copy to the ERL/CSU in advance if possible.
- Testicle Removal: Castrate the stallion using normal procedures. Leave the testicle and epididymis intact (i.e. DO NOT remove the epididymis). Try to leave as much of the vas deferens as possible attached to the epididymis. Ligate the deferent duct with suture to prevent sperm from leaking out.
- Packaging: Place testicles on top of a folded towel or other material that is a buffer from the coolant cans, so the testicles do not freeze. Two (2) frozen coolant cans or ice packs should be in the shipping container, but not touching the testicles. The testicles should not be frozen; the goal is to keep the testes cool until they arrive at Colorado State University.
- Shipping Container: An Equitainer®, Styrofoam box or similar insulated shipping container can be used. Place the 2 frozen coolant cans at the bottom of the Equitainer®, cover with a towel or a thick layer of paper towels or other material, then place the testicles at the very top.
- Shipment: The container can be shipped by overnight courier or by counter-to-counter airline service. In order to optimize recovery and cryopreservation of epididymal spermatozoa, the shipment needs to arrive within 24 hours of castration.