South American camelids, particularly alpacas, are gaining in popularity outside their native lands. Reproductive biotechnologies, such as artificial insemination or embryo transfer with cryopreserved embryos, are more complicated in these species than many others due to differences in their reproductive physiology compared to the more commonly encountered domestic livestock. This article reviews the methods currently available for obtaining semen or spermatozoa from alpacas and describes some of the problems associated with handling the viscous seminal plasma characteristic of camelids. Possibilities and limitations of reproductive biotechnologies in this species are discussed, and future developments are outlined, especially some new techniques which are currently being developed for use with camel semen and may be transferable to alpacas.
- British Veterinary Association