[L’industrie c’est fou] Thanks to this IVF incubator, procreation in space will be safe

2023-09-12 05:30:00

What is the point of building lunar shelters, producing energy in space or even developing agriculture there with the aim of colonizing it if we cannot procreate there in complete safety? Radiation and microgravity might pose a significant danger for embryos and future mothers, warns the Dutch start-up SpaceBorn United… But don’t panic: those who dream of conceiving several hundred kilometers from Earth should be able to do so …In an artificial way. SpaceBorn United has developed a prototype miniature in vitro fertilization (IVF) incubator, created to operate in micro-gravity. The size of a CD, the device located inside a capsule rotates on itself to reproduce Earth’s gravity and must be sent into space soon.

The company, which will surely have to wait many years before obtaining authorization to cultivate human embryos in space, initially plans to send mouse reproductive cells there. “Once in space (low Earth orbit), embryos are conceived and begin to develop in an artificial environment close to Earth’s gravity. After five or six days, the embryos are cryogenically frozen and the incubator returns to Earth where they are examined. If they are approved to be placed back in the natural uterus, the pregnancy period and childbirth will take place on Earth,” describes SpaceBorn United on its website. Over the next five years, the company plans to focus on conception and early embryonic development. Once this is mastered, she will focus her research on childbirth in space.

Reaching seventh heaven… in space

With the rapid development of space tourism, the question of sexuality in space environments is beginning to seriously arise. In The Conversation, bioanalytical technology professor David Cullen is concerned regarding companies’ lack of preparation. There will surely be many travelers who want to indulge in some fun in the air among the stars.

In his article, the scientist refers to the 30,000 club – a group of people who have had sex on board a plane in flight, at 30,000 feet altitude – which might evolve into a “line club Karman”, which corresponds to the border between Earth and space. Problem is, microgravity will make physical proximity and blood circulation in the lower part of the body difficult… In addition, those who get laid will have to be wary. Scientists do not yet know the effects of space on contraception.

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