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#124479 - 07/26/06 02:43 PM Artificial Insemination

Recently brought to my attention, this MAY be one of the possible alternatives to shipping gliders from the USA to Europe, thus saving a LOT of potential stress and discomfort for gliders that would otherwise have to undergo a long haul flight, and a minimum of 6 months in quarantine! (This is not all my work, but research compiled from various sources on the web, books etc) I also want to point out that I am neither for or against it, as I do not want to make up my mind until I know more about it!

So, let’s examine the subject of artificial insemination. There are many variations of AI to consider. There is pet-to-pet artificial insemination, fresh-extended (chilled) semen insemination, and frozen semen insemination. Techniques of AI include vaginal deposition, surgical implant, and trans-cervical insemination. Studies have been published with convincing evidence that every semen preparation – fresh, fresh-extended or frozen – will produce larger litters if semen is deposited directly into the uterus, especially with trans-cervical technique. That being said, fresh and fresh-extended semen give decent results with vaginal deposition.

Trans-cervical inseminations are done by endoscope or the “Norwegian catheter”. The rigid endoscope is more widely used than the Norwegian catheter, and has the considerable advantage of providing the operator and the female’s owner with a view of the actual deposition of semen in the uterus by way of a TV monitor. Those skilled in the use of the Norwegian catheter can get excellent results as well. Trans-cervical semen depositions do not require any sedation at all in nearly all cases.

The important difference between a trans-cervical insemination and a surgical implant is, obviously, that the trans-cervical does not entail the risks of general anaesthesia and surgery. Unless there is a pathological condition of the uterus, there is no benefit to doing a surgical. If the tissues of the uterus or the ovary are abnormal, an exploratory surgical procedure can be done on the female well before she is in 'season', if hormonal studies, ultrasound or breeding history indicate a pathology that cannot otherwise be identified. Many abnormalities will make themselves known through hormonal studies, and may be treated medically rather than surgically.

AI can help continue the bloodline of animals suffering from non-hereditary disabilities, who could otherwise not breed. It can also help to increase the gene pool of a species in different countries, if sperm is swapped.

This is just a small bit of the research I have been doing into this, and although I have my reservations it has caught my interest, and I am going to get the verdict of a few vets over the coming months.

So! Discuss: Pros/cons of this method, your moral stance on it, etc. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/read.gif" alt="" />

#124480 - 07/26/06 03:08 PM Re: Artificial Insemination [Re: ]

While in concept AI seems like a good idea, in practice, it is near impossible.

The first problem I would address is obtaining a seman specimine. While gliders are quite prolific breeders, they aren't like cows, who will have their way with a "dumby". Also, I think that thier forked penis would pose problems on the collection end.

The second problem I see is with the actual insemination. Female gliders are tiny. It would require a very small cath to even get into the female. You wouldn't be able to see or feel where the cath is inside of the glider either, which could be very damgerous. Since females have a universal opening, there is no saying whether you are threading the cath into her uterus, bladder, or bowls. Doing so could result in serious internal damage.

I did see once on animal planet where they took a young joey out of the pouch of a rare breed of walaby and trasplanted it into the pouch of another female walaby of a more common speicies. That is about the closest I've seen to AI in any marsupial.

#124481 - 07/26/06 03:23 PM Re: Artificial Insemination [Re: ]

I don't breed, but in the event that AI were to occur, it makes me wonder how you would have the female housed prior. If she were alone, would she want to have joeys without a mate to help? If she were with an intact male, would he be agressive towards the joeys as they are not his? I don't know the reactions of other females or neutered males towards unfamiliar joeys, but that may be something to consider.
Also, I forget the word, but can't females hold off on actually having a joey go ip? How would that effect an AIed joey even coming to term?
Just some thoughts..

#124482 - 07/26/06 03:44 PM Re: Artificial Insemination [Re: ]

Those are some good points as well. My thought process didn't even get past the medical stages, lol.

You are talking about Embrionic Dispause <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

#124483 - 07/26/06 03:55 PM Re: Artificial Insemination [Re: ]

I knew it started with an "E"! I've been staring at a computer all day writing reports for work--my brain is fried, to say the least!

#124484 - 07/26/06 04:47 PM Re: Artificial Insemination [Re: ]

VERY valid points guys!

I'm writing this all down in my 'ask the vet notebook' <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/roflmao.gif" alt="" />

Keep them coming!

#124485 - 07/26/06 04:56 PM Re: Artificial Insemination [Re: ]

I think a female housed with a neutered male would be able to raise a baby fine. The male would have no sense the baby wasn't *his* so would not feel threatened. Also being neutered would not be able to father the joeys himself so whatever joeys did result would be from the insemination.

I'm not sure all in all this is even possible but I wanted to say my thoughts on that point.

I agree with Leyna, there are a lot of things to be considered with size and mechanics that seem near impossible to get around.

#124486 - 07/26/06 05:31 PM Re: Artificial Insemination [Re: ]

Other things not really related to the medical side of it, but...

What about cost.. IF everything could be done and there would be no problems.. How much would it cost for the semen to be taken, shipped out to you and then implanted into a female? Also the cost of someone letting you borrow their male to use his sperm... Also what will be the risk involved... is either male or female going to be injured during these procedures and are you and the person willing to take those risks? Another risk to think of is what if you spend all this money and she doesn't ever have the joeys? Is it worth it to you to loose so much (hope and money)?

I know how much you guys want the colors over there and understand this is just a thought you had, so you are looking into it. I don't want to discourage you at all. I am a very pesimistic person and always have to point out the down sides of the "what ifs"

#124487 - 07/27/06 06:25 PM Re: Artificial Insemination [Re: RSXTC]

I would research attempts that were done in mice. While they are completely different species they are about the same size as a sugar glider and they are a very common research tool. My roommate has done this technique on rabbits. Her response to this issue is that the semen collection would be very difficult. In mice it usually requires the sacrifice of the animals. There are some solutions that might allow the collection of the semen and they would to take the semen from a male who is already with a female glider. Then have a prepared artificial Vagina ready. Due to the nature of sugar gliders mating, they usually will mate for one entire night. The issue then becomes storage of the semen. The semen would need to be quick frozen in liquid nitrogen for the entire length of the trip until it was implanted into the female. This can be done but it will be expensive, a lot more expensive then just shipping over a male. Then the issue becomes the timing of the implantation. You would need to induce ovulation in the female or inseminate during ovulation. There is another solution to this as well. You can attempt to induce ovulation via drugs as has been done in mice, or again you can use and intact male and wait until he attempts to mount the female and remove the male before he actually does. Then with the stand by semen implant it into the female. A final route is to collect the eggs from a mature recently deceased female and collect the semen from the male in the above mentioned way and artificially fertilize the eggs. Then implant them into the recipient female. There are a lot of variables to each of these and 90-95% failure rate would probably be expected and maybe even higher. This is a very expensive way of getting a glider. It would be better just to ship them.


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