Starting in April, sexed semen will become available in the UK. That will give mare keepers the choice to predetermine the sex of their foal by having their mares inseminated with semen that has a 96% chance of producing a colt or filly.
Technique stems from cattle farming
The technique of separating semen has been available in cattle farming for fifteen years. The technique has been developed by the American company Sexing Technology. In Great Britain, Stallion AI Services provides sexed semen of their stallions. The additional price – on top of stud fees and veterinary costs – of sexed semen is around 850 Euros at the first insemination and 500 Euros for the second, VAT excluded.
More DNA ‘female’ sperm cells
Sperm sexing can only be carried out on fresh semen. The sperm cells with the X chromosome (producing a filly) and the sperm cells with the Y chromosome (producing a colt) are separated from each other. This can be done with a patented technique which splits the ‘female’ sperm cells – with 3,8% more DNA – and the ‘male’ sperm cells. In cattle farming the semen can still be deep frozen after sexing. This is not possible with the semen of stallions, which means this technique is only available via fresh semen. More information regarding sexed semen can be found on the website of ST Genetics in the Netherlands.
Source : De Hoefslag