Fresh, Fresh Chilled, and Frozen Semen:

Using Fresh Semen has the potential for the least professional intervention. In the event of quality problems, semen manipulation or artificial insemination may be necessary, but it is often used with natural breeding. It won't be covered in this discussion.

Fresh Chilled Semen provides the opportunity to use stud dogs from geographically diverse areas. It avoids the need to travel distances with your bitch at times when you may not have the freedom to leave home. It is highly successful if precautions are taken. It can be cost effective when you consider the alternative of taking time off of work, fuel costs, food, lodging, etc. It can be performed by most veterinarians as long as they are provided the proper collection, extending and insemination materials which are available from BVS as well as other sources. Although many breeders have been successful collecting and shipping themselves, the AKC does require that a licensed veterinarian collect the sample in order to register the litter. In addition, bitch owners and their veterinarians are often quick to blame the stud dog when there isn't a proper semen analysis accompanying the sample when it arrives. The cost savings by collecting the sample yourself is usually overridden by the increased pregnancy rates and puppies per litter achieved by using a veterinarian who can do a proper analysis. BVS uses extenders that can maintain sperm motility for up to 2 weeks. Shipping containers, semen collecting equipment, and extenders are available for purchase from BVS. Fresh chilled semen is used most commonly for shipment within the same country although newer extenders do allow for international shipment in some circumstances. Unfortunately, the international shipping and customs regulations have gotten more stringent over the last several years and it is not unusual for packages to be held up in customs for several days. With fresh chilled semen, the package is generally shipped with little time to spare as the bitch has likely reached her fertile period by the time the stud dog is notified. One advantage of this form is that the bitch usually receives the entire ejaculate of sperm, which can be several times the number of sperm shipped with frozen semen.

Frozen Semen: For situations where it could take time for the sample to reach the bitch such as international shipments, freezing keeps the semen preserved through the period of bureaucratic red tape of foreign customs departments. Shipping containers can maintain the sample for up to 2 weeks. The sample can be shipped well in advance of the bitch's fertile period so that it is ready when she is. It allows for preserving semen on stud dogs that may require neutering for various health or behavioral reasons.

BVS has been freezing semen since 1987 and has produced litters from the frozen semen of stud dogs dead as long as 27 years. We have experience with the use of semen from all major freezing centers in the US as well as many from other parts of the world. We freeze semen at dog shows as well as at our hospital in Sonoma County California, the location of our AKC approved storage facility. See out links section for details on international regulations.

When It Comes Time to Use Your Frozen Semen:

In order to use your frozen semen, we require 2 forms be completed and sent to us either by scanning and emailing or by faxing to: 707 583 7863.  The first is the   semen transfer form (click to open) . Be sure to complete the box labeled "Number of breeding units." This is not the number of straws but rather the number of inseminations. The number of straws will depend on the particular post-thaw motility of the sample in question. There is also a space for your name and address and the name and address of the recipient including the bitch's name if it being shipped for insemination.

The second form is the credit card authorization form(click to open). 

BOTH forms must be received complete BEFORE WE CAN BEGIN the process of finalizing paperwork, filling a shipping container with nitrogen, transferring semen to the tank, and shipping. From the time we receive both completed forms, it then takes several days to prepare. It is imperative that you work several days in advance of when the semen is needed. Please do not expect tanks to be prepared within 2 days of getting completed forms to us. This point is very important.

Both forms can be found on the appointments tab of this website.

Artificial Insemination:The 3 forms of AI used are vaginal, trans-cervical, and surgical. Vaginal inseminations can be performed by most veterinarians as well as many experienced breeders. As mentioned previously, the obvious advantage of having AI done by the veterinarian is to evaluate the semen properly. This is best done by veterinarians specifically trained in reproduction. Breeders may be able to recognize motility but few are able to identify the specific abnormalities found in sperm, some of which affect fertility, others not. It is helpful to recognize and quantify these abnormalities in order to maximize pregnancy rates, litter sizes, and preserve stud dog fertility as long as possible. Circumventing the semen analysis may jeopardize the future reproductive potential of the stud dog and require you to send repeat breedings if the insemination fails. This is the form of AI most commonly done and wont be covered in this discussion.

Trans-cervical ("TCI") AI involves the placement of semen directly into the uterus rather than the vagina. It is useful in situations with limited quality or quantity of sperm. There are 2 methods, one involving a fibreoptic scope and camera allowing the visualization of the cervix so a catheter can be seen passing through it for the deposition of small volumes of concentrated semen. The other is with a "Norwegian pipette" which is a low tech method where palpation is used to pass a narrow tube through the cervix. Both deposit the semen directly into the uterus. It is important to do this with frozen semen and in some situations with marginal quality semen. There is a lot of mis-information about the risks of the Norwegian pipette procedure. In the US, the fibreoptic method is the most popular. Neither procedure is dangerous if done by an experienced veterinarian. It can be very helpful to have experience with both for circumstances where the fibreoptic method is impossible or impractical. At BVS we have been using both methods for over 10 years and find them to complement each other well. There are very few cases that we cannot perform trans-cervical insemination on in less than 10 minutes. In most cases no anesthesia or sedation is needed.

Surgical insemination:Some people believe this is the most successful means of inseminating frozen semen. It does have the advantage of being able to visualize the uterus directly. In cases of reduced fertility this can be helpful and may identify problems not found with non invasive diagnostic tests like x-rays and ultrasound. It also assures that the semen will be deposited in the uterus which can be helpful in some cases that are difficult to do trans-cervical procedures on. At BVS we do not routinely recommend surgical insemination on all frozen inseminations. We have hundreds of litters from frozen trans-cervical inseminations. We offer TCI both at dog shows and our hospital in northern California.