In Italy, animal reproduction in the livestock sector is regulated by law n. 30 of 15 January 1991 “Regulation of animal reproduction” and the successive amendment n. 280 of August 3, 1999. The modalities of implementation of this rule are delegated to DDMM 403/2000 and 27.12.94, which establish the quality control of frozen semen. The activity of  “Official Semen Control” is assigned to the Istituto Sperimentale Italiano Lazzaro Spallanzani.

Therefore, the Spallanzani Institute acts as technical executor of the Ministry and the regions for the safeguard of selection in Italy, by ensuring that frozen semen supplied by semen production and/or importing organizations belongs to the sire identified on the straws (Identification check – VCI) and is correctly self-certified for quality (Self-certification check – VCA). The control is carried out on at least 10% of the frozen semen batches distributed in Italy.


Official Semen Control

Self-certification Check – VCA

Self Check

The VCA provides for the qualitative analysis of seminal material after thawing by assessing the concentration and progressive motility in order to determine the number of progressively motile spermatozoa (NPMS) that represents the quality reference parameter.

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The NPMS is, then, compared with self-certification of the centers.

In case of non-agreement between the NPMS of the Institute and the self-certificated ones, further analysis is carried out on a second sample of the same batch. In case of further inconsistency, it is issued the “Incorrect Certification” and the Centre must modify the self-certification. The correction of the self-certification is the only fulfillment requested to the Center during the marketing of the sperm.

Identification Check – VCI



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The VCI is an example of genetic traceability to support the ordinary traceability. The activity involves the comparison between the genotype obtained from the DNA of the frozen semen sample and that of the reference sample of the sire.

The evaluation is based on the analysis of genotypes using polymorphic molecular markers: the microsatellites.

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The electrophoretic patterns obtained from the two biological samples are compared. Dedicated software developed by the Institute enables the VCI automatically by checking if the two DNA samples belong to the same subject or to different individuals. In case of differences between the two profiles, the sperm batch is defined I.I. (Incorrect Identification) and the Centre must provide for the destruction of the entire batch.