In vitro fertilization is used to retrieve cryopreserved sperm, when there is a behavioral or physical obstacle to mating, or when fertilization needs to be observed. Artificial insemination is not used in mice because it requires larger quantities of sperm than can normally be collected.
Males are sacrificed to collect sperm. Moreover, in vitro fertilization is expensive, labor-intensive and difficult with no guarantee of success. Thus, attempts at natural reproduction should be completely and thoroughly exhausted before reqiesting IVF. Consult with us for recommendations on how to get that old male to mate. The best strategy is prevention: keep your stocks of mice young and reproductive.
If IVF fails, there is recourse to injection of sperm (IntraCytoplasmic Sperm Injection or ICSI). ICSI is still more expensive, labor-intensive and difficult, but can be used to rescue valuable stocks. In fact, ICSI has been shown to work on sperm retrieved from dead animals, as well as from freeze-dried sperm. If the last male of a valuable stock dies, place the animal in the fridge and call us immediately.