Thursday, January 26, 2012

"You want me to put my hand where?"

Each semester my lab mate, Katie, and I help teach the livestock reproduction lab.  Our lab is unique from many universities because the students have the opportunity to learn the technique of artificial insemination (A.I.) and practice weekly for a semester.  The process of A.I. includes inserting an A.I. gun or rod into the vagina and through the cervix so the semen can be deposited into the uterine body. The millions of sperm eventually travel up the horns and to the ampulla of the oviduct where the sperm will meet the egg and one lucky little guy will fertilize it. Many of these students are in the pre-veterinary program but many not necessarily have a livestock background.  For the students that have limited to no experience working around livestock, this gives them hours of hands-on experience prior to applying and entering the veterinary program. For students that come from a ranch background, it gives them the opportunity to learn the technique, become proficient at it and apply it in their own herds back home. 

The first day starts the same every semester with the students trying to find the cervix in the cow.  As we get further into the semester, they transition from the hesitancy they experience on the first day to successfully artificially inseminating a cow! This is the part I enjoy the most, when you see that lightbulb go off and the student succeeds. For those of you that are familiar with A.I., you know that it is something that requires a lot of patience and practice before being successful. When learning, it can be extremely frustrating so I get to do lots of preaching on patience! 

Here is one of the students on the first day! 
Although Day 1 is a shocker for most of the students, they always have a good time! My favorite quote of the day was, "Man, once you get inside there it's a different story...I didn't know it was going to be like that!". Never a dull moment in repro lab...


sandy said...

i couldn't help but lol when you said a light bulb goes off and they finally get it.....and there is a light bulb right above the girls head in the picture! so.....the rest was just disgusting to me....but i'm so glad you're interested and teaching others about this. It's not for everyone, and certainly not for the faint of heart. Has anyone passed out? do the cows willingly stand there while this is preformed or are they in a squeeze chute. (i didn't look very well at the picture i guess). anyway.....i'm impressed daily by your knowledge and field of sure you just don't want to be a doctor and work on people?

Lyndi said...

Haha, I didn't even notice the light bulb above her head! No kids have passed out this semester so that is ALWAYS a good thing...that freaks me out!
The cows heads are in head locks and so they stand their and eat while the kids are working on them.
I don't think I could work on people, they will talk back to you! With cows, you just get an occasional "moo"!