Breeding with Frozen Semen
The benefits of using frozen semen when breeding a mare are numerous. Cryopreservation (freezing) allows long-term sperm storage, which in turn allows a breeder to buy and store semen from a stallion of interest and save it for the right mare in the future. The ability to import frozen semen from other countries allows breeders access to quality stallions all over the world. And storing frozen semen gives mare owners the option to breed to stallions that have died, have been castrated, or are actively competing and not available for collection.
Pregnancy rates achieved with frozen semen vary, but they average between 30-60% per estrous cycle. While it might take more than one cycle to achieve a pregnancy using frozen semen, most young, fertile mares will conceive over the course of a breeding season. Many factors contribute to the success or failure of the technique, including mare age and reproductive status (maiden, barren, etc.); stallion fertility and semen quality; and appropriate handling and use of the semen. Owners should be aware that pregnancy rates with frozen semen are significantly lower in mares older than 16. Pregnancy rates also depend on the stallion; some stallions’ semen freezes better than others’. For the best chance of success, owners should breed to stallions that are known to have good-quality frozen semen and have produced live foals.
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