Improved quality of sex-sorted sperm: A prerequisite for wider commercial application
To date the only successful method to sort sperm into X- and Y-chromosome-bearing populations is the Beltsville Sperm Sexing Technology. Fertility results continue to be variable even though the technology has been used in a commercial setting for nearly a decade. This is at least partly due to the reduced lifespan of sperm after sorting and freezing. Several technical and biological factors are responsible for this problem. Furthermore, to meet economic demands, only 10-15% of the number of sperm (compared to unsexed semen) are loaded in each straw, further limiting the chances for fertilization. A new protocol for preservation of bull sperm, utilizing Sexcess® shows promise in extending the lifespan of sorted bull sperm. Motility and acrosome integrity are significantly increased using Sexcess®. Conception rates achieved with heifers for those bulls tested with Sexcess® and using a standard AI regime give results that do not differ from results achieved using regular AI. In addition to the improvements of the sorting technology itself, we recommend a thorough pre-selection of bulls. A reliable prediction method to determine whether a bull is suitable for a sex-sorting program still does not exist. Such a test is needed, especially for "custom sorting" programs. Currently, test sorts are the only means of obtaining information about the sorting efficiency of semen from a particular bull.