Sexed Semen is the process of sorting semen by gender and was developed in the late 1980s.
The technology has been gradually improving since then. Sperm is sorted by identifying differences between the X- and Y- bearing sperm.
The X- chromosome (female) contains about 3.8% more DNA than the Y- chromosome in cattle. This DNA difference in DNA content can be used to sort the X- from the Y- bearing sperm (Male from Female).Dovea Genetics have 2 different sexed semen products on the market, Gen Choice 90 and Gen Choice 75.
GenChoice 90, is expected to produce 90 percent of the desired sex (female). It is the ideal choice to maximize the desired gender from a specific mating.
GenChoice 75, is expected to produce 75 percent of the desired sex, this product is therefore less expensive than the GenChoice 90.
There are obvious benefits of using sexed semen. It increases the chances of heifer calves for dairy producers from about 50% to 90%. This is especially significant for the Jersey Breed where the bull calves are virtually worthless. More heifer calves being born on the farm is the fastest way to expand a dairy herd. First lactation heifers that calve to sexed semen produce more milk and get pregnant quicker.
Heifer calves are usually easier to deliver than bulls, so calving ease is another benefit. All indications lead us to believe that this new technology will continue to be perfected and will offer a return on investment that will be commercially sustainable for the dairy industry.