ICSB Semen Freezing Methods and Services

ICSB semen freezing technologies, procedures and media are based on over 50 years of research, development and operation, which have been funded by AKC, NGA, and the Ralston-Purina, and are based on statistical evidence and our in-depth research, which began in 1971.

There have been numerous puppies produced from semen we had frozen and stored in liquid nitrogen for decades and proved our success for the longest history in this field. In 2010, four Beagle puppies were produced from semen stored for just under 38 years. In 2018, six Great Dane puppies were produced from 36-year-old semen. In 2019, four Irish Wolfhound puppies were produced from 29-year-old semen. In 2020, fifteen Dalmatian puppies were produced from 20-year-old semen. These are just a few of our many successful litters.

This proves the viability of ICSB canine semen freezing technologies and procedures as well as our long-term commitment to our clients and their studs’ semen stored at ICSB Oregon Main Office and its licensed centers domestically and internationally. ICSB semen freezing technologies are used by veterinarians worldwide and many of these veterinarians successfully produced litters the very first time they inseminate with semen frozen by our technologies.

We are proud of our long history of success, starting with Professor Platz' pioneering of the pellet-freezing method and exceptional freeze media. Many competitors are still unable to reach the high post-thaw motilities that we are able to achieve. Part of this success has to do with the accuracy of our processing methods.

ICSB takes the time and effort to studiously examine each sample that we collect and freeze. We care too much to automatize any procedure without clear proof that a machine will meet our standard of excellence. Leading theriogenologists who have reputably practiced in this field, many of who are also ICSB-licensed veterinarians, can attest to the superior and accurate methods that ICSB has established, tested, and proven for over half of a century.

Many of these automated sperm counters show up with impractical limitations, including the inability to differentiate between sperm cells, blood cells, and other debris of similar size. Furthermore, many of these machines require minimum sperm counts that are so high that they exclude entire breeds of dogs that simply do not produce that amount of sperm. Our extensive training and expertise in the field of semen allows us to not only differentiate between sperm cells and other debris, but to be able to count sample sperm counts as low as 1 million, where most normal canine semen samples are in the hundreds of millions.

When automated sperm counters are used, that are counting more than just sperm cells, the inaccuracy is significant. Many have misplaced their trust in these machines and have sent samples to us to be frozen with the presumption that billions of sperm are in a sample only for us to find significantly less sperm cells in a sample filled with white or red blood cells. Not only can this inaccuracy lead to inaccurately packaged breeding units, but if a sample was to be tested by an automated sperm counter instead of proper examination through microscope, the obvious signs of a possible infection could be left undetected. Red blood cells in ejaculate is commonly a sign of a prostate infection and white blood cells are usually indicative of a number of infections, including but not limited to mycoplasma, ureaplasma, and other reproductive bacteria. If semen is used that carries an infection, it can then be passed on to the inseminated female dog and cause severe issues with her health, the pregnancy, and the pups.

Automated sperm counters that also claim to track motility, but have the limitations of being unable to differentiate sperm from other debris, can result in inaccurate sperm motility percentages. When there is the addition of red blood cells, white blood cells, and other debris, this can lead to a miscalculated greater total sperm count whereby the motile sperm are counted against. This miscalculated larger amount of total “sperm” cells will therefore miscalculate a significantly lower motile sperm percentage.

Another factor that can affect the observed post-thaw motility of semen is the use of ICSB thaw media, or rather the lack thereof. Specific thaw media is provided for each collection that produced the best results at the time of freezing the semen. Exclusion of ICSB thaw media from the thawing process of ICSB-frozen semen can have adverse effects on the post-thaw motility of the semen.

Not only are ICSB quantitative methods more reliable than automated machines, but also our entire freezing process has shown to be unrivaled. ICSB freezes in pellet form, which increases the efficiency of processing, taking as little as 30 minutes to freeze with ICSB freezing technology. Due to the smaller and spherical nature of pellets, pellet freezing is better controlled in ICSB processing; this controlled timing and temperature in combination with ICSB techniques provides a superior freeze quality producing optimal results. Using ICSB freezing methods, post-thaw motilities of up to 85% can be attained.

Furthermore, when testing the post-thaw motility, as little as one pellet may be required, which is approximately 0.03 ml, in contrast to a straw, which is typically 0.5 ml. This reserves a larger amount of frozen semen for the owner, resulting in more breeding units available. The pellet form also allows us to package at a more accurate breeding unit amount than straws would allow, further contributing to the production of additional vials. Moreover, future testing on the semen, either for retesting of motility, DNA profiling, or genetic testing, has less impact on the client's inventory.

Using ICSB's freezing and packaging system, one vial equals one insemination unit always. This provides preferable handling for inseminating veterinarians. Success is maximized for inseminations, as the efficient volume of pellets allow for thaw media to be added to achieve the optimal volume for each specific female dog.

Those who note lower post-thaw motilities typically perform the procedure without using the proper length of time for the frozen semen to warm up enough or test the motility with automated motility-measuring machines. When only one person performs an entire insemination, including preparing the semen and the female, less preparation time tends to be afforded for the sample. To help avoid this, we highly recommend planning for sufficient time for the preparation of frozen canine semen so that the semen can be warmed to the optimal temperature and monitored nonstop.

When using ICSB-frozen semen, proper progesterone timing, ICSB thaw media and thawing procedures performed by ICSB technicians, we have an over 90% success rate with surgical inseminations at our partner veterinarian facility.

It is due to our tried and tested methods, established since 1971, that ICSB has not only outlasted our competitors, but is also a thriving leader in the field. Our reputation precedes us internationally, confirming the intercontinental need for our reliable technology and methods. This increasing demand for our services and products inspires the expansion of our facilities worldwide. ICSB has remained foremost in the field of frozen canine semen for the last half century and will continue to grow and serve our clients for the next half century and beyond.