Methods routinely used to preserve mouse spermatozoa require that the male be killed to recover spermatozoa from the epididymides. Here we obtained multiple samples of ejaculated spermatozoa from normal fertile C57BL/6 and infertile Hook1/Hook1 (formerly known as azh/azh) mutant males from uteri after mating, thus avoiding termination of the males. Ejaculated sperm were preserved by conventional cryopreservation or by rapid freezing without cryoprotection, and were injected into the oocytes by intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). The proportions of oocytes that survived, became activated, and developed into two-cell embryos were similar when comparing the two preservation methods in wild-type versus Hook1/Hook1 mice and tested mice versus controls (fresh and rapid-frozen epididymal and fresh ejaculated sperm). Two-cell embryos were transferred into the oviducts of pseudopregnant females, and fetal development was examined at Day 15 of gestation. A total of 39%–54% of transferred embryos produced with preserved ejaculated sperm implanted. Live, normal fetuses (11%–17%) were obtained in all examined groups and from all males included in the study. More implants (71%–82%) and fetuses (28%–31%) were noted in controls. Lower developmental potentials of embryos produced with preserved ejaculated sperm might be due to their capacitation status; the majority of sperm retrieved from the uterus were capacitated. This study bears significance for the maintenance and distribution of novel mouse strains. The method is applicable for all types of mice, including those with male infertility syndromes. The sole requirement is that the male of interest is able to copulate and its ejaculate contains spermatozoa.
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Vol. 76 • No. 6