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Top Tip: keeping slides warm for viewing semen motility

Now that the weather has cooled down it’s going to take a bit more to keep semen samples warm enough to view motility.  Live semen is sensitive to thermal shock and the glassware will need to be warmed up in a water bath to at least 35C before you introduce the sample.

A top tip from the supplier to keep the slide warm and slow down the rate of cooling of the glass:

  1. cut a piece of cardboard the same size as a microscope slide,
  2. cut a hole in it the same size and position as the cavity to allow the light through,
  3. mount the cardboard on the microscope stage,
  4. mount the warmed slide on top of the cardboard.

When you order the live semen sample I will send you an info sheet so you are prepared before it arrives, so don’t panic if you’re not sure what I’m talking about here.

And if you’re wondering whether or not to order the sample in the first place, why not have a look at what a labbie had to say about how they managed it and what the kids got out of it?

 

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Top Tip: live sperm in the classroom

This is a guest post by Deb Barnett who was the lab tech at the first school to order live boar semen.  This post puts Deb in the running to win our t-shirt competition.

The kids love it!!

It gave us a relevant and interesting resource for the unit. We even had the most disengaged student managing the microscope and getting the best view of the goings on the slide.

The sample maintained viability through the week even though the ice brick had defrosted on arrival and it was warmer than the suggested 15-20 degC in the esky. Arrival time was approx. 12.10pm Monday. I followed the recommended storage conditions throughout.

Just a few notes on how the prac was run here….  A small vial and dropping pipette (1 for each class) was placed in the incubator at 38degC until required. When the class had set up the ‘scopes and warmed their slide between their hands, I aliquoted approx 1mL into a vial and took it straight to class where the teacher kept it warm in their hand whilst walking around the lab putting 1 drop directly on the slide for each group. No “lab accidents”

So, thanks again – a good time was had by all.

Good luck with the business, you’ve certainly hit the spot with it!