Standard, safe semen collection procedure key to reproductive health studies

We appreciate everyone who has contacted us requesting more information about our animal care procedures. If you have not seen the UW–Madison statement on how PETA recently misrepresented our research and animal care, it is posted here.

In addition, people have asked us about electroejaculation in our animal husbandry procedures. We do use this standard and safe semen collection procedure that is common in agriculture and  biomedical research, as well as in medical studies and reproductive health procedures with humans. It is also essential for the conservation of endangered species, both in the development of genome resource banks and in captive breeding programs.

Our macaques are comfortable with the procedure because it uses a small amount of current. In biomedical research, carefully planned and efficient insemination also helps make research possible with fewer animals. The procedure has also been used in scientific studies to obtain sperm samples for genetic analysis in people and animals.

The WNPRC has a long history of pioneering reproduction and development research. Advancements that have involved this semen collection procedure include the following:

  • Hormonal mechanisms influencing sexual differentiation and behavior in the brain.
  • Role of prenatal androgen exposure in the development of polycystic ovary syndrome.
  • World’s first rhesus monkey born through in vitro fertilization, leading to improvements in IVF techniques for animals and people.
  • Neural mechanisms responsible for puberty and reproductive health.
  • Embryotoxic effects of Zika virus.
  • Use of magnetic resonance imaging to quantify placental function and noninvasively monitor pregnancy.
  • Gene transfer in rhesus embryos, advancing the rhesus macaque as a model for understanding gene function and genetic disorders that affect pregnancy outcome and cause disease.