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Learning the art of cryopreservation

Last week, from the 2-5 March 2015, participants came to MRC Harwell to take part in our Mouse Embryo and Spermatozoa Cryopreservation training course, a technique in which we have particular expertise. 

Our extremely popular Mouse Embryo and Spermatozoa​ Cryopreservation course ran this year from 2-5 March. This three and a half day long course is intended to give animal technologists practical, hands-on experience of murine embryo and spermatozoa freezing techniques routinely used at MRC Harwell, as well as a simple, robust in vitro fertilization procedure. It led by MRC Harwell’s Frozen Embryo and Sperm Archive (FESA), part of the European Mutant Mouse Archive (EMMA), and is worth ten continuing professional development (CPD) points.

The course allows participants to gain experience of the entire process, including harvesting embryos and sperm, conducting IVF and transferring embryos into the female mouse. Participants learnt how to freeze sperm and embryos in liquid nitrogen using plastic semen straws, gain experience of a straightforward and robust in vitro fertilisation (IVF) procedure, and watched a demonstration of how these embryos can then be transferred into recipient females to establish a new pregnancy. While embryos can be stored ready to use, sperm cryopreservation has the advantage that you can potentially recover over a thousand mice from just one male. The course included a dinner on the second evening, providing a great chance for everyone to get to know each other a little better

The course runs twice a year, and the next one will take place on the 21-24 September 2015. To register your interest in this course, please contact the course convenor Martin Fray ( or email

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