Indexed on: 21 May '14Published on: 21 May '14Published in: Theriogenology
Cryopreserved semen allows the use of single ejaculates for repeated analyses, potentially improving IVF consistency by eliminating interejaculate variability observed with fresh semen. However, the freezing and thawing processes result in compromised sperm function and IVF success. Semen samples are often screened for motility before use for IVF. Samples that are below a designated motility threshold may be discarded. Our objectives were to determine if post-thaw sperm motility, other traits that may be indicative of sperm function, or a novel assay of oviduct binding were related to IVF success. Semen from 16 boars was cooled to 15 °C for overnight shipment before cryopreservation. Semen was thawed and motility was recorded microscopically and confirmed using computer-automated sperm assessment. Each sample was tested by IVF in two to three independent replicates. Regression and correlation analyses were employed to determine the interrelationships between sperm traits and the relationships between post-thaw motility, sperm-oviduct binding and IVF outcomes. Among the sperm traits examined, sperm acrosome integrity was negatively correlated with post-thaw motility (r(2) = 0.64) but not with IVF results. The number of sperm bound to oviduct aggregates was correlated with IVF polyspermy rates (r(2) = 0.62, P < 0.05) but less with overall IVF rates (r(2) = 0.31, P > 0.10). There was some relationship of post-thaw motility with IVF monospermic fertilization (P = 0.06, r(2) = 0.08) but not to other IVF outcomes. Our results indicate that post-thaw motility of frozen-thawed boar sperm is strongly related to acrosome integrity but has limited use for predicting IVF success. The number of sperm bound to oviduct cells was related to IVF polyspermy rates and may be more indicative of in vitro sperm function than traditional sperm motility and acrosome status evaluation.