WATCH: Frozen sperm and the quest for intergalactic reproduction
Spanish scientists have discovered that frozen sperm samples are still viable after exposure to simulated space flight. The finding could pave the way for a space-based sperm bank.
The preliminary study was first presented at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Vienna, CNN reported.
The samples, which were exposed to microgravity, were analysed for concentration, motility, vitality, morphology and DNA fragmentation.
"If the number of space missions increases in the coming years, and are of longer duration, it is important to study the effects of long-term human exposure to space in order to face them," Dr Montserrat Boada from Dexeus Women's Health in Barcelona said in a statement.
"It's not unreasonable to start thinking about the possibility of reproduction beyond the Earth."
The discovery could open other possibilities when it comes to space travel. According to The Guardian, all-female astronauts could reproduce in space without the help of their male counterparts. There are even hopes that it could be the fist step towards colonising Mars and outer space.
Boada suggested performing the experiment using real spaceflight, but currently, access is very limited.
In related news, the Daily Mail reported that men can freeze their sperm for more than a decade and be just as likely to have a baby.
The Human Sperm Bank in Changsha, China, analysed almost 120 000 semen samples and found there is no difference in birth rates when women are impregnated with sperm which has been stored for up to 15 years.
Dr Chuan Huang, who led the study, said: "The long-term storage of sperm does not appear to affect live birth rates."