We still do not need to reproduce ourselves outside the Earth, but on this day, studies were conducted by Dexay Mujere and the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC). may be the key to subsidiary reproduction outside of our planet . The survey was presented last week at the 35th Congress of the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) in Vienna (Austria).
But what does it mean that microgravity does not affect frozen sperm? What experience was made to verify this fact? What is the next step of the investigation?
Dr. Montserrat Boad, Dexeus Mujer, was the primary investigator of this study and explains how hypertext was done and what conclusions were drawn from his work: “We conducted a study of frozen donor samples with liquid nitrogen, a method commonly used in fertility centers, and then what was done is Divide the samples into two parts , One was exposed to the microgravity environment, and the other – the terrestrial, that is, the normal gravity of the Earth. ”
“And what we saw was: to freeze and subject them to microgravity conditions that we created seem to make no difference. ” As a result, sperm samples can remain weightless without being interfered while they are frozen, he concludes.
This part of the study was conducted in collaboration with the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, as Boada explains. “They have already conducted similar experiments of the same type with other areas of medicine,” he says. “We knew that this was a method that worked well and that it was scientifically recognized, ” In fact, he points out that the European Space Agency (ESA) also uses them in his experiments: “They do this with larger airbuses, but the method is exactly same In other words, it is a proven method for conducting microgravity experiments here on Earth. If you are not able to go to the moon or go out of space because access is very limited, you can use other methods, including parabolic flights, ”the doctor says.
We analyzed 15 samples in zero gravity for eight seconds on each flight, and 20 flights were performed with each sample.
How are these parabolic flights? The comparison used by Boad is the free fall of man. “Parabolic flights include flying acrobatic flights, airplanes are loaded with frozen samples, and a series of parables is made, on each flight they receive 20 parables, and they are 8 seconds of microgravity“What you do is free fall, and this autumn puts you in a microgravity situation,” he said. We made three different flights of five samples each. In total, we analyzed 15 samples, and we did not see any of them undergoing any changes, subjecting them to these conditions of microgravity, ”he says. We investigated the sperm analysis, which was very thorough. We studied the concentration and motility of sperm to see whether it changes or not, as well as the morphology, viability, fragmentation of sperm DNA and apoptosis, all of which are andrological tests, to see if the sperm sample undergoes some changes, “adds the researcher.
Microgravity changes many body functions.
Why should sperm be frozen and not another? “There are studies on animal models, on mice and others, who say that sperm samples change in microgravity conditions when they are not frozen,” says Boada. “Keep in mind that microgravity alters many body functions: acts at the molecular and cellular level, causing changes in the nervous system, cardiovascular, skeletal, etc… . Therefore, we know that microgravity can greatly affect the function of the body, as well as at the cellular level. We were looking for frozen specimens, which are commonly used to send them from Earth, to survive microgravity in this situation, ”he explained.
Artificial insemination in the laboratory. Source: BBC News
And now what? The project, says Boada, is more. They want to first analyze more sperm cells to increase the number of samples and that research is significant, but then they have other goals: to study oocytes and embryos. However, Spanish law is complicated: “Our idea is to see if there are modifications in the oocytes as well or not, so that we can have information of both sexes.” According to Spanish law, all this search in the egg cell and embryos must request a special permit, then it is more difficult to get all the study permits, ”says Dr. Dexeus Woman.
However, Boada cannot express his opinion on whether something like this happens to the eggs and embryos, that is, whether they will be affected by microgravity: “First, first, we must think that microgravity can affect the whole process of embryonic development, egg maturation , fertilization He explains: “The ability to move them to a frozen state, and to see whether there will be anything like that, was with them would be good news, because if in the future we have to create a bank of gametes from the earth, it would be nteresno learn that they can be saved, “he says.
Meanwhile, the air remains that this will be the fertilization of the Earth. This is work for other researchers, probably in the future: “What would have been reproduced from the outside would be a different job, but it can move them if it helps you to think that in the future if you copy in space that you already have there are gametes and that it will be possible to move the samples. That is, you will expand opportunities for reproduction in the future, which I do not know whether it is close or far away, but it may be that the future he concludes is necessary .