By Geoffrey Clifford
Photos Courtesy of Tecnogen, Mexico City, Mexico
RamGo is a revolutionary, new concept in the delivery of frozen semen through the sheep cervix. Sheep artificial insemination (A.I.) and cervical conception rates can now match intra-uterine laparoscopic A.I. at a fraction of the cost, making it commercially available for the first time.
Life will never be the same in the sheep world again!
The drawing and photos show the complexity of the sheep cervix, and the marvel that any of them ever get pregnant, (some never do). I think a round of applause is called for the little fellas, that achieve such good results, in the face of impossible odds.
Methods Tried & Failed
Many attempts have been made by man to pass surgical instruments through the sheep cervix. All have been met with abject failure.
In the early 90’s I trialed the Guelph University method, in which the operator gripped the tip of the cervix with forceps to elongate the folds and then attempted to pass a pipette through to the uterus.
Result: One lamb from 30 ewes and obvious trauma.
Just a few years ago, Aberystwyth University, trialed a method where oxytocin was used to relax the cervix. Results as low as two percent conception were achieved.
My personal favorite—and one I had considered myself—was using air pressure. The idea was to blow the semen through the cervix pressurized to 200 pounds per square inch. The results were explosive. And they are still scraping sheep uterus off the lab ceiling.
However, all is not lost.
A Seminal Breakthrough
Enter RamGo. Developed as a byproduct of an improved cattle insemination system through the efforts of Dr. Marco Antonio Hidalgo Mendoza, of Tecnología Genética, (Technogen) Mexico City, Mexico.
This “outside the box” concept is to push the semen through the cervix with a liquid medium, assisted by a unique prototype pipette with a “twist” feature, to gain entry into the first fold of the cervix.
When twisted and pushed in fully, it seals the point of entry to prevent blowback of the semen.
An additional three to four cubic centimeter charge of air is then used to flush the diluent completely from the pipette.
The tables show results of two sets of field trials performed by R. M. Buis, M.M. Olmos, and V. O. Mejía. The results are impressive, to say the least. They are proof that:
• Having the right equipment and
• Keeping stress to a minimum is essential to good results and
• The theory worked in practice.
Our last photo shows the way not to do the job: Sitting on an ewe in a pile of straw dropped conception rates 55 percent.
One added note: During the mid 80’s at Tony Goode’s Worborough Farm, we achieved conception rates with fresh semen of 65 percent, with simple cervical deposit.
I am sure RamGo would lift that by 10 percent, and bring A.I. within points of natural service, which is not 100 percent. In fact, 80 percent would be closer to it. After all, how many ewes do you have left to lamb after 17 to 20 days?
For more information on this new method of on-farm artificial insemination, please visit the website: Tecnogen.com. If in the U.S. you may call +1 (707) 634-7112. Or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally published in the March/April 2017 issue of sheep! and regularly vetted for accuracy.