Successful intrauterine insemination of Eld's deer (Cervus eldi thamin) with frozen-thawed spermatozoa

S. L. Monfort, G. W. Asher, D. E. Wildt, T. C. Wood, M. C. Schiewe, L. R. Williamson, M. Bush, W. F. Rall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


This study tested the efficacy of assisted reproduction (synchronization of oestrus and intrauterine artificial insemination (AI) in contributing to the captive propagation of an endangered species, the Eld's deer (Cervus eldi thamin). Semen was collected from males preselected on the basis of under-represented genotype. Motility of spermatozoa after thawing from ejaculates diluted with BF5F extender (8% glycerol), frozen on dry ice in 0.5 ml straws and stored in liquid nitrogen was 60-70%. Intravaginal progesterone-releasing devices (controlled internal drug release, CIDR-type G) were inserted into 20 adult Eld's deer hinds for 14 days. In all hinds, semen (7.5-10 x 106 motile spermatozoa per uterine horn) was deposited by laparoscopy performed 70 h after removal of the CIDR device. Ovarian activity, before and after AI, was monitored by analysing pregnanediol-3α-glucuronide (PdG) concentrations in voided urine collected three to seven times per week. During the period of CIDR device insertion, urinary PdG profiles were equal to, or above, normal luteal phase concentrations in all hinds. Within 48 h of device withdrawal, PdG concentrations returned to baseline values in 17 of the 20 females, and the onset of behavioural oestrus occurred at this time in 12 hinds. On the basis of sustained increases in urinary PdG, 9 of the 20 hinds were diagnosed as pregnant by 90 days after AI, all of which delivered offspring after a mean gestation of 241.1 days (range, 235-245). Seven singletons (two females, five males) were born alive and survived, and one singleton and one set of twins were stillborn (three females). This is the greatest number of pregnancies and offspring produced in a single AI trial for any endangered mammal. These results demonstrate that genotype preselection can be combined with assisted reproductive technologies, including use of frozen semen, to produce genetically valuable offspring useful for conserving a rare species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)459-465
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Reproduction and Fertility
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Embryology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Developmental Biology


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