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Why Frozen Sperm Can't Save Earth's Imperiled Species... Yet

Stashed in: Pandas!, Science!, Awesome, Elephants!, Science Too, So you're saying there's a chance..., Pandas

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But, again, not all sperm is created equal. Giant pandas owe their human-orchestrated reproductive success to their hardy sperm: It’s resistant to cold, not fragile, and relatively easy to freeze and reanimate. Elephants, though? Scientists are still struggling to freeze the sperm and keep it alive after thawing. Cheetahs are somewhere in between—researchers have worked out a protocol to preserve sperm well, but insemination itself hasn’t gone so well. Out of 50 attempts or so, inseminated cheetahs have given birth to 11 litters. “You may have a perfect-quality sperm sample that’s just absolutely beautiful, and then your female doesn’t respond to the hormone, or vice versa,” Crosier says. “So some of it is all the stars aligning.” She and her team are working to increase those odds.

Sounds like the more they try, the better they get at the process.

The key is to keep trying. 

I had no idea pandas were so hardy, especially compared with elephants. 

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