In February, Spanish pilot Daniel Gonzalez boarded a small aerobatic aircraft at Sabadell Airport outside Barcelona and launched his single engine. Once in the air, Gonzalez began a steep climb for about six seconds before entering the nose. The rapid descent of the aircraft created a microgravity environment in the cockpit, and within seconds Gonzalez felt what it was like to be an astronaut. Then he pulled the yoke to get the plane out of his dive and did it again.
This type of parabolic flight is not remarkable for experienced aerobatics such as Gonzalez. But the cargo of his flight was a little unusual: In the passenger seat of the plane was a small box filled with tubes of frozen human sperm.
This was the third and final flight of a long-standing study conducted by a group of Spanish researchers to understand the effects of microgravity on human reproduction. This seminal study, which is currently undergoing peer review, marks the first experimental results published on the effects of zero-gravity medium on frozen sperm. The study is limited ̵
"We are on the verge of knowing about human reproduction in space," says Anthony Perez-Poh, an engineer at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia and co-author of the paper.
Perez-Poh and his colleagues are not the first to experiment on zero sperm G. Last year, NASA sent frozen humans sperm to the ISS, though the agency did not share any results.All of these projects are part of an emerging attempt to see how human settlements, and in particular alien babies, can travel beyond Earth .
Perez-Poh says the team plans to run longer, longer flights and hopes to also experiment with thawed sperm, since keeping samples warm to survive has made it easier to handle frozen material. to defrost your sperm on the ISS before sending it back to Earth.Microgravity is only one concern for the creation of babies from space; then high radiation is also considered. The effects on eggs and possibly embryos will also need to be considered.
With all the ethical challenges of working with human embryos, the long-term program for the study of conception in space is at its best. However, the idea of human reproduction in space has taken on a life of its own. At least one company already intends to offer couples the ability to do IVF in low Earth orbit – as if in vitro fertilization is not expensive enough.
Last year, a company called SpaceLife announced its intention to store frozen sperm and eggs in satellites and to develop an incubator for embryos in space. However, in July, the company shut down operations, citing "serious ethics, safety and medical issues."
Given how little we know about how the space environment affects human reproduction, this is probably the best . But maybe one day we will find ourselves in a world where babies are delivered not by stork, but by spaceships.
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