Q: What are the benefits of using frozen semen?
A: There are many benefits of using frozen semen when breeding a mare. Cryopreservation (freezing) allows long term sperm storage, which allows the breeder to buy and store semen from a stallion and save it until they have the ‘right’ mare to put it to. The ability to import frozen semen from overseas means that breeders here in South Africa, can access semen from stallions all over the world. Furthermore, storing frozen semen gives mare owners the opportunity to breed with stallions who have died, been castrated or are busy competing and thus not available for collection.
Importantly, performing artificial insemination with frozen semen is also generally safer for both stallion and mare as no actual physical contact is required between mare and stallion. This avoids the injuries that can all too easily be accrued during a live mating.
Pregnancy rates achieved with frozen semen do vary quite widely, but they average between 30 and 60% per oestrous cycle. Whilst it may therefore take more than one cycle to achieve pregnancy, most young, healthy mares will conceive within the breeding season.