Transcervical Insemination FAQ

Q: What is transcervical insemination (TCI)?

A: TCI is a technique in which a rigid endoscope is used to locate the cervix and pass a catheter through it for intrauterine insemination of frozen semen without the need for surgery.

Q: How is the technique performed?

A: An endoscope (essentially a tiny video camera) is passed up the vaginal canal of a bitch and to the cervix. The inseminator is able to watch the positioning of the catheter on a TV monitor to which the endoscopic view is shown. The actual insemination can be visualized, ensuring that the deposition of semen is in the uterus and that minimal back flush occurs.

Q: Can all bitches be inseminated this way?

A: A vast array of breeds have been successfully inseminated using TCI, even toy breeds.

Q: Is the technique safe?

A: The risk of trauma or infection is an important consideration. Gentle and patient manipulation of the endoscope and catheter should not cause a problem with the cervix or vaginal wall unless a pathologic condition already exists. During estrus and at the time of insemination, the vaginal walls are thicker and less susceptible to trauma.

Q: Will the technique cause infections?

A: Bacteria can be routinely isolated from the uterus and vagina during estrus without causing apparent problems. This is likely due to the increased resistance to infection during this time. Therefore, infections caused by this technique are rare if proper sanitation of equipment and stringent quality control are adopted.

Q: What results can be expected using this technique?

A: This technique provides intrauterine deposition of semen, which is a vital part of frozen semen technology. Equally important to the successful use of frozen semen are the timing of the insemination, semen quality, and bitch fertility Results from a trial comparing TCI techniques demonstrated that conception rates of 83.3% and an average litter size of 7.5 were possible in bitches of unknown breeding history.

Q: How does TCI compare to surgical insemination?

A: Both methods do the same thing by allowing deposition of semen into the uterus. However, anesthesia is generally not required for TCI, thus reducing risks to the bitch. Most bitches actually tolerate this procedure very well. Materials such as suture, surgical supplies, etc, are also not required, reducing client costs. The time it takes to perform the procedure is much less and the bitch can go home immediately after the procedure.

Q: Why did we decide to start offering the TCI technique?

A: The Abilene Animal Hospital has offered other areas of breeding expertise such as semen cryopreservation, ovulation timing, and surgical insemination. We feel that this technique offers a safer, less invasive method to inseminate within the uterus to achieve the same or better results without the need and risks of general anesthesia and surgery.

Q: How did we get involved in TCI?

A:We recently acquired the endoscopic equipment and have received specialized training in this technique from recognized experts.

Q: What does this include?

A: This includes the general exam, semen thawing, semen examination and assessment, vaginal cytology, and the TCI materials and procedure.

Q: What is not included?

A: Progesterone testing and interpretation is not included.

Source:Wilson, Marion S. (2001) Transcervical Insemination Techniques in the Bitch. Clinical Theriogenology, The Veterinary Clinics of North America, Small Animal Practice.