Effect of Cooling Rate to 5 degrees C, Straw Size and Farm on Fertilizing Ability of Cryopreserved Rabbit Sperm
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High fertility and prolificacy in rabbits are currently only achieved using fresh sperm. This study was conducted to determine if the cooling rate to 5 degrees C, the straw size and the farm where artificial inseminations are performed have an impact on the fertilizing ability of rabbit sperm cryopreserved with an extender containing dimethyl sulphoxide (DMSO; 1.75 M) and sucrose (0.05 M). Slow cooling to 5 degrees C improved neither fertility rate (58 vs 56% kindling rate for fast and slow cooling, respectively) nor prolificacy (6.5 vs 8.7 total born for slow and fast cooling, respectively; p < 0.05) compared to fast cooling rate to 5 degrees C. The straw size did not have an effect on either fertility or prolificacy (47 vs 57% kindling rate and 6.3 vs 6.8 total born for sperm loaded into 0.25 and 0.5 ml straws, respectively). In addition, similar results were obtained between farms (46-57% kindling rate and 4.9-6.7 total born), although this effect should be studied further. In conclusion, with this extender, slow cooling does not present a beneficial effect on sperm fertilizing ability and either 0.25 or 0.5 ml straws can be used to freeze the sperm, obtaining similar results after artificial insemination. In addition, similar results were obtained between farms when using cryopreserved sperm, and these results were lower than those obtained after artificial insemination with fresh semen. Therefore, new approaches are needed to improve the results obtained when cryopreserved sperms are used before this type of sperm can be used for commercial purposes.