Dutch entrepreneur Egbert Edelbroek, head of Spaceborn United, believes that human colonies outside of Earth will not be viable without reproduction in space. He believes that if humanity wants to become a multiplanetary species, we must face the challenge of reproduction beyond Earth and that are truly independent.
Spaceborn United is working on the conception of an embryo in space by first seeking to reproduce mice before considering sending human sperm and eggs far from Earth. The company has created a disk that mixes these cells and plans to cryogenically freeze the embryo to suspend its development and ensure safe return under difficult conditions. They plan a launch with mouse cells for the end of 2024, but it will be at least five or six years before the first launch that seeks to produce a human embryo.
The ethical implications of such research cannot be ignored, as Edelbroek acknowledges. The path is long and the challenges are significant due to the differences in gravity and vulnerability of a fully growing fetus. However, he remains hopeful that within the next 100 years, a baby could be conceived in space.
Spaceborn’s research also has implications for helping people conceive on Earth. Edelbroek hopes that one day humanity will achieve natural births in space, but recognizes that this is still a long way off. Space tourism may bring new travelers who aspire to become the first to conceive in space, adding another element to consider