With the privatization of the space industry and the rise of space tourism, a group of scientists argue there's not enough research on sex in space and the unique challenges that could arise if a baby is conceived offworld. Cranifeld University professor of astrobiology David Cullen and colleagues have just published a paper calling for the space tourism sector to "enter into open discussions concerning the risks and mitigations, and develop and disseminate best practice approaches." Best practices! From the paper abstract:
To encourage and contribute to a broad actor and stakeholder engagement and discussion, this green paper defines the term "uncontrolled human conception in emerging space tourism" and outlines the actors and stakeholders that should constitute the community or sector. Various issues and topics relevant to the actor and stakeholder engagement and discussions are outlined. These include the biological context and risks of human conception during spaceflight and postflight; the sociological context of human conception in space; space tourism and other business models relevant to human conception in space; spacecraft engineering context; moral, ethical, legal and regulatory considerations; examples from other relevant and analogue situations; and the present status of discussion and risk mitigation within the space tourism sector. As part of this green paper, the authors make a series of recommendations for the community: (i) organise a series of consultations and meetings to bring together the actors and stakeholders for debate, discussion, and dialogue concerning uncontrolled human conception in space tourism; (ii) establish the current status of discussion, risks consideration and risk mitigation within the community; and (iii) propose routes forward to result in a community/sector approach to (a) regulation, (b) risk mitigation, (c) development and sharing of best practices, and (d) open communications. Several topics for further research are also suggested, including (i) exploring questions concerning likely tourist motivation for, and sexual activity during, spaceflight and (ii) considering the efficacy of, and approaches to validate the use of, existing human contraceptive approaches during spaceflight.
More: "Is sex in space being taken seriously by the emerging space tourism sector?" (Cranfield University)