Ram semen in storageA row of sheep in a field, facing away from the camera

Ram semen freezing and storage


Freezing semen from your stock ram provides peace of mind against infertility or death. In the wake of FMD and BTV, more and more sheep breeders are preserving their elite genetics and Innovis’ semen freezing and storage facilities enable breeders from across the UK to take advantage of this ultimate form of insurance.


Innovis is the UK’s leading provider of semen freezing services for sheep, offering breeders:

  • Cost effective insurance against death / serious injury - many prize-wining tups are still able to sire lambs many years after their death via frozen semen
  • The ability to breed from injured or incapacitated rams
  • Shared assets – enabling consortium owners to share the ram without transporting him
  • An additional source of income from ram semen sales
  • The opportunity to export ram semen worldwide
  • Contingency planning – preserving your superior genetics and rare breeds
  • The opportunity to fertility test rams prior to AI / natural service
  • Frozen semen can also be used as a back-up on your AI day


Breeders can access our dedicated facilities in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and we have DEFRA approved, isolated health status export facilities in Malvern and Edinburgh which enable breeders to export semen worldwide.


Innovis veterinarians are also able to offer fertility testing to ensure that your ram is fertile and ready for the breeding season.


Ask our Innovis technical team about semen freezing


What does semen freezing involve?

Rams admitted to our centres are penned individually in our shed within sight and smell of “in-season” ewes. The rams are trained to “jump” the teaser ewe and a semen sample is collected, using an artificial vagina (AV), each morning of the ram’s stay. The semen sample is assessed for quality, with the poor quality semen being discarded. In all cases a certain percentage of the semen dies when it’s put through the freezing process so only the best quality semen is kept. This is diluted and chilled for 4 –5 hours before the freezing process can commence.


Semen is frozen into pellets or straws. One sample from each ram is always thawed and assessed for post-thaw motility to ensure that enough sperm have survived the freezing process. Any semen failing post-thaw quality control is discarded.


How much semen will a ram produce?

Although it varies greatly the average ram will produce up to 40 doses of semen per day (up to 200 doses per week).


Will a ram always produce semen suitable for freezing?

The best quality frozen semen is essential to achieve the highest possible conception rates but some semen will fail quality control and this can be for a variety of reasons eg illness, infertility or the sample assessed may be his first ejaculate of the season. Semen quality does vary throughout the year and, since the semen production process takes approximately 7 weeks, poor semen quality could reflect a previous illness or (in the worst case) may indicate a problem which prevents good semen being produced at all.


How is frozen semen stored?

Semen is stored in tanks of liquid nitrogen which keeps the semen frozen at a temperature of about −196 °C or −321 °F.


How long can semen be stored for?

When the highest quality semen is frozen and maintained correctly, semen could be stored indefinitely.


How long must my ram stay on centre?

A ram’s length of stay will depend on how used he is to being handled, whether he has jumped into an AV before and how well his semen freezes. You can help to reduce the length of his stay by giving timid rams the experience in serving a ewe in an environment very similar to that of our AI centre, i.e. in a pen with a ewe restrained and a person standing or kneeling close by. This is what we call training!


I want to have semen frozen for export, what must I do?

Innovis has dedicated teams who have expertise in the import and export of frozen semen. Special quarantine requirements exist for different countries. Please ask us for more information about this service.


How much does ram semen freezing cost?

Charges depend on how long a ram is on-centre and how well his semen freezes. Current semen freezing costs can be found in our price list. Terms and conditions of Sale apply.


More information

We also have a full range of information, technical factsheets and support available for sheep breeders who want to take advantage of our services and expertise

  • Ram preparation Guidelines
  • Laparoscopic insemination in Sheep
  • Checklist for AI / ET – the ideal set up
  • Getting your ewes into shape for AI
  • Improving Lap AI and ET conception rates
  • Why use a teaser or vasectomised ram in your flock?
  • Regulin – its use in AI programmes


Do you want further information about semen freezing or to book rams into one of our centres?

Please contact your nearest Centre: Malvern on 0844 800 9050 or Edinburgh/Belfast on 01875 614500



More cost effective than insurance!


Now that your rams have finished working, why not book them in for semen freezing?


  • Cost effective insurance against death / serious injury
  • Allows you to breed from injured or incapacitated rams
  • Enables ram sharing
  • Offers an additional source of income

For more information or to book your rams in contact us:


Edinburgh:    01875  614500

Malvern:        0844 800 9050

Ireland:         07817 726714



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