58189 - Artificial Insemination and Assisted Reproductive Technologies

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Docente: Barbara Merlo
  • Credits: 2
  • SSD: VET/10
  • Language: Italian
  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Single cycle degree programme (LMCU) in Veterinary Medicine (cod. 8617)

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student has learnt the techniques of artificial insemination, collection and cryopreservation of gametes and embryos and the assisted reproduction techniques more frequently used for embryo production and manipulation in vivo and in vitro. and sex determination. The student will be able to perform artificial insemination, oocyte and embryo recovery, transfer and or cryopreservation of oocytes and embryos in livestock species.

Course contents

The contents of this course contribute to the learning outcomes of the CI "Fisiopatologia della Riproduzione Animale e Tecniche di Fecondazione Assistita" that includes the courses of "Fisiopatologia della Riproduzione Animale" and "Andrologia Veterinaria".

The student will acquire theoretical and practical knowledge regarding the control of ovarian activity, the oestrus cycle, oestrus synchronization and detection. Techniques for artificial insemination in livestock species (cattle, buffalo, equines, swine, small ruminants). Techniques for recovery, storage and use of oocytes and embryos produced in vitro or in vivo by superovulation, the techniques for embryo transfer. From a theoretical point of view the techniques for cloning (by nuclear transfer) and genetic engineering will also be presented and discussed. The datailed programme of the course, including syllabus, is available on the veterinary medicine couse website.

At the end of the teaching course:

· KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING – the student knows methods of semen collection and artificial insemination, the techniques for recovery, use and or cryopreservation of gametes and embryos, protocols for oestrous synchronization and timed artificial insemination, use of different assisted reproductive techniques in different livestock species.


- develop a protocol for hormonal control of ovarian activity;

- perform artificial insemination in those species where this technique has largely replaced natural breeding (bovine, equine, swine)

- handle the semen for artificial insemination with fresh, refrigerated or frozen semen

- recover oocytes and / or embryos for the required scope or for cryopreservation

- perform an embryo transfer

The Syllabus of the course unit and the list of EAEVE Day One Competences that the course unit contributes to achieving can be viewed on the dedicated page.


- Hafez E.S., Hafez E.B., “Riproduzione negli animali da allevamento”, libreriauniversitaria.it, 2011;

- Youngquist R.S., Threlfall W.R."Current Therapy in Large Animal Theriogenology”, Saunders Elsevier, 2007;

- Noakes E.D., Parkinson T.J., England G.C.C. ”Veterinary Reproduction and Obstetrics”, Saunders Elsevier, 2019;

- McKinnon A.O., Squires E.L., Vaala W.E., Varner D.D. “Equine Reproduction”, Second Edition, Wiley-Blackwell, 2011;

- Sali G. “Manuale di teriogenologia bovina”, Edagricole, 1996;

- Gordon I. “Reproductive Technologies in Farm Animals”, CABI Publishing, 2017;

- Cibelli et al., “Principles of cloning”, Second Edition, Academic Press, 2014.

Presentations used in class and supplementary materials will be available on Virtuale.

Teaching methods

The course is composed of theoretical part in the lecture rooms (18 hours) and of practical sessions (6 hours)

a. lectures

In the lecture emphasis will be put on themes more relevant from the profession point of view, for the broader issues of general interests they will be referred to the textbooks.

b. practical sessions

The students will be divided in four groups and each group takes a session of two hours for a total of 6 hours and will be performed on cows and or simulated on a dummy. For practical session it is mandatory to wear white coat. When nessessary, DPI (ex. gloves, disposable coats, disposable boot covers) will be provided.

In consideration of the types of activities and teaching methods adopted, the attendance of this training activity requires the performance of all the students of modules 1 and 2 in e-learning mode and the participation in module 3 of specific training on safety and health in the places of study. Information on dates and methods of attendance of module 3 can be consulted in the specific section of the degree program website.

Assessment methods

The course is part of the CI "Fisiopatologia della Riproduzione Animale e Tecniche di Fecondazione Assistita" that includes the courses of "Fisiopatologia della Riproduzione Animale" and "Andrologia Veterinaria".The teacher verbalizing the CI is Prof. Daniele Zambelli.

The final score will be defined by an average of the scores of the three modules. Examination commission will include the teachers of the courses that are part of the integrated course.

The evaluation test consists in a written examination. During the written test the student has to answer to 24 questions (18 multiple choice questions and 6 short essay questions).

Each multiple choice question has 3 options, and only one is the correct answer. The score can be 0 (zero) or 1. In the short essay questions the score can be from 0 (zero) to 2. The non-answer is considered incorrect (0) in both the type of question.

The time available to the student for the written test is 30 minutes. During the test is not allowed the use of support material as textbooks, notes, and computer media.

Registration on AlmaEsami. Exam on Esami OnLine.

During the day of the examination all 3 modules of the integrated course can be taken (72 questions in 1,5 hours).

The evaluation is expressed with a mark out of thirty for the exams. The test is passed with a score of at least 18/30. In the event of maximum marks (30/30), honors can be attributed.

The student has the right to refuse the verbalization of the proposed positive grade at least once (according to the university teaching regulations ART. 16, paragraph 5).

Students with DISABILITIES or SLD who need to adapt to teaching during the lectures or in the final exam, must contact the teacher by email, inserting in C/C the reference staff and the Department contact person, Dr. Fabiana Trombetti.

Teaching tools

The lectures are carried out in the classroom using PC and video projector.

For practical courses specialised equipment will be used for recovery, handling, manipulation of gametes and embryos and for artificial insemination and embryo transfer.

Office hours

See the website of Barbara Merlo


Life on land

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.