Good news for those of us who plan on moving to space sometime in the future and want to have a kid someday: Freeze-dried mouse sperm stored in the International Space Station for nine months was used to successfully produce healthy mice offspring.
As the Atlantic reports, Japanese researchers sent samples of freeze-dried mouse sperm up to the ISS with cargo launched by Japan’s space agency, JAXA, in August 2013. Once there, the samples were preserved at minus 95 degrees Celsius (or minus 139 degrees Fahrenheit), and exposed to cosmic radiation that’s about 100 times as intense as here on Earth. Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the research states that the samples returned to Japan in May 2014 on a rocket, and were used to fertilize eggs that eventually resulted in healthy pups.
According to National Geographic, these findings not only show that space sperm is viable, but also offer hope for potential space fertility (since scientists still don’t know whether human reproduction in space is actually safe at this point). From a personal standpoint, the findings really just helped me finalize my plans for the future: One day I’m going to get pregnant using pre-packaged freeze-dried sperm, sometime after I inevitably take up residence somewhere in space (preferably on a planet that’s just like Earth but it’s all a tropical-beach oasis and also Drake is my husband).
Knocking myself up with freeze-dried space sperm will surely be a breeze, because I can only assume that in space, our ovaries and eggs stop aging (and I will no longer be subjected to the “Your time is running out!” warnings on fertility ads that pop up all over my Instagram). I will enjoy my space life, take my time working on my space tan, and get pregnant when I’m actually ready to be a mom. Then, after an easy pregnancy (because I’ve decided that morning sickness does not exist in space), I will give birth to a healthy, human space child.
Since I’ll be far away from the United States, I’ll have parental leave that is paid and spans more than just a few weeks. Then, when I’m ready to go back to work, guess what, my work is literally just hanging out with my husband Drake on a space beach. I won’t have to worry about finding a private place to pump at the office (the whole beach is private!). Of course, space child care is common and subsidized, so finding a space day care will be both affordable and easy for me. Never will I have to scramble to pick up my kid before 6 p.m. to avoid late charges.
I’ll raise my space baby on this space-beach oasis, and eventually my space baby will grow up and go off to space college that space actually pays for, instead of having to graduate with student-loan debt like I did. And if my space baby develops any health problems over the course of their space life, my space baby won’t have to worry about going bankrupt trying to fill necessary prescriptions or undergoing vital treatments because, as it turns out, space insurance is great. Overall: I’m thrilled about this hopeful news. I can’t wait to get pregnant in space.