Overview & Audits

CSS Overview

Certified Semen Services, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of the National Association of Animal Breeders (NAAB). It was formed following a decision made by NAAB delegates in 1975 (29th Annual Meeting, Dallas,TX) to establish a program of industry self-regulation.

The organizational meeting of CSS was held in 1976 followed by the hiring of the first Service Director. The CSS audit or inspection program for semen identification was initiated in January 1977. Two years later this program was expanded to include the area of sire health. During the past several years health requirements and procedural standards for health and identification have been modified as conditions in the AI industry and emerging technologies have warranted. However, any changes made in the program are implemented only after thorough review and evaluation.

The CSS structure allows for additional services to be added to meet the needs of the AI industry. In 1992 a new program to evaluate AI center management practices was implemented. Also in 1995 participation in the CSS program was extended to AI businesses located outside of the United States. The success of the CSS program has enabled the national animal breeding industry to regulate itself without direct government involvement. Underlying this success is an active effort by each participating organization to operate under principles of integrity and professional competence.


The central documents that guide the CSS audit are a) the "CSS Agreement for Semen Identification, Semen Quality Control and Sire Health Auditing Service" and b) the "CSS Minimum Requirements for Disease Control of Semen Produced for AI". The "CSS Agreement" outlines the terms and conditions that are agreed to between the participating organization and CSS and outlines specific requirements to be complied with regarding identification and sire health. The "CSS Agreement" runs on a calendar year basis and is automatically renewed January 1 of each year if the provisions have been complied with and a "Statement of Compliance" for the past year has been filed with CSS. The "CSS Agreement" was revised for 2005 and 2011. The 2005 revision placed greater emphasis on certifying the AI business or specific areas within an AI business as "CSS Certified" based on specific Facility Requirements/Agreement Provisions. The CSS Semen Quality Control audit program was added in 2011. Its purpose is to help insure that each breeding unit of semen contains sperm of adequate quality and quantity to achieve normal fertility in producer’s herds and to provide more consistency among member AI businesses in their semen quality control procedures.


Identification from point of purchase or custom collection of the sire, throughout processing, distribution to the original point of sale of the processed semen is reviewed during the audit. This involves the Service Director checking on records in several places at the AI business, observing identification procedures and asking employees pertinent questions. Normally the sequence of this evaluation follows the work flow of the production department, beginning in the collection area, then proceeding to the processing laboratory, followed by distribution area. This is followed by the bull housing and isolation facilities and then other departmental offices where pertinent records are evaluated (such as genetics, field services and/or accounting).

Semen Quality Control

Each organization’s semen quality control program documents and procedures are reviewed and observed during the CSS audit and by ad hoc communications. This includes: sperm enumeration procedures and equipment calibration; semen extension rate information and parameters used to determine maximum/minimum sperm per breeding unit; pre-freeze and post-thaw evaluation information; semen discard data; visual post-thaw microscopic evaluation information; written procedures and internal standards; policy for semen quality exceptions; physical identifier used for below minimum quality.

Sire Health

The "CSS Minimum Requirements for Disease Control of Semen Produced for AI" outline specific testing procedures for bulls and mount animals before entering isolation, during isolation and for bulls housed in a central location after completing isolation (resident herd). General sanitary conditions and requirements for the addition of appropriate antibiotics to semen and extender to control specific microorganisms are included. The CSS Minimum Requirements represent a comprehensive standard for those diseases proven to be a significant threat to be seminally transmitted by AI. The goal of the CSS Minimum Requirements is to protect the health of the herd in which semen is used.

CSS requirements are minimums that should be followed for domestic use. These requirements have become a de-facto national program in the view of regulators. Several participants typically exceed these requirements in their sire health programs. During the audit, various records pertaining to sire health and procedures are checked to determine compliance with the CSS Minimum Requirements. Procedures are observed and checked in animal housing areas, collection area and laboratory. Health test records are checked for completion of the appropriate CSS tests in the veterinary department.