The TNAU Agritech Portal defines artificial insemination as the process by which semen is collected from the bull and injected into the reproductive tract of the cow at proper time using specialised equipment. The result of this is what has been called ‘normal offspring’.
Different methods are used by breeding experts to obtain optimal results:
The Artificial Vagina Method
Here, the ‘jacket’ of an artificial vagina is filled with water which has been heated to 45 degrees Celsius. Air blown into the apparatus creates pressure within it, simulating a natural vagina. This apparatus is then used for simulated breeding as a ‘replacement’ of a natural female organ and ejaculation from the mounted bull is collected.
The Semen Collection Method
Here the bull first mounts the actual cow, before the penis is directed into an artificial vagina by an operator. Once the bull has dismounted, the artificial vagina is taken off his male part. A special piece of apparatus, called a semen collection tube, is used to gather the substance which is then taken to the laboratory for examination. A sealed insulation bag is used to protect the semen from contamination.
In 1949 British scientists discovered that they could successfully freeze and store semen for breeding and study purposes. In this process, they added glycerol, which acts to remove water from the sperm cell, prior to freezing. Such implementation of glycerol prevents damaging ice crystals from forming in the cells. Once glycerol has been added, semen is frozen using one of two methods: dry ice and alcohol, or liquid nitrogen.
Choosing the right technique for artificial insemination requires knowledge, experience and patience. For farmers wanting to breed using such methods, it is suggested doing research and asking expert advice before implementing the intended method that is chosen. Safety of the cow should come first.