"We remember that we were always the first in the cosmos, and we are still the first in many ways, so we would like the first man born in space to be a Russian citizen, and the fact that a person is born healthy, and in this respect we are really competitive, because in many studies we lead.”
Russia wants to be the first nation to have a citizen born in space, and you would think its cosmonauts would be lining up for the opportunity to be the father. You would be wrong, and it’s surprisingly not because there’s a lack of female cosmonauts lining up to be the first to give birth in space. It’s because the guys are refusing to part with their essential contribution … their sperm! What gives … or in this case, doesn’t give?
“We cannot conduct through the Coordination Scientific and Technical Council, which approves of conducting experiments on the Russian segment of the ISS, such a routine procedure as cosmonauts spermograms.”
Irina Ogneva, head of the cell biophysics laboratory at the Institute of Biomedical Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences, explained the problem blocking the first space conception to RIA Novosti in rocket scientist terms. What the expression “spermogram” means is a sperm donation of the Russian-porn-magazine-in-one-hand kind. Ogneva complained that her numerous requests for donations …
“… causes everyone to smile and reject."
That rejection of an ejection puts the kibosh on Ogneva’s experiment in spermatogenesis, which involves studying the differences in cosmonaut sperm before, during and after spaceflight. Apparently, the guys have no problem with the before and after donations … it’s the ‘during’ one that they’re reluctant to perform. Are they afraid the American astronauts on the ISS will catch them in the act and post pictures on Facebook?
“We constantly encounter obstacles of a moral and psychological and ethical nature. There are no cosmonauts who want to.”
Morals and ethics never got in the way of a good time in space back in “The Right Stuff” days when the early astronauts and cosmonauts were daring ex-fighter pilots sneaking sandwiches, golf clubs and more into their capsules. One can easily imagine a pinup photo taped to the wall and some “the Eagle has landed … that’s what SHE said!” gags. Nowadays, having scientists, engineers and philosophers in space is a good thing – except when a fellow scientist needs just one little spurt into a test tube. Ogneva points out to Sputnik News that sex in space not only is inevitable (if it hasn’t happened already despite the challenges of microgravity, shrinkage and lack of privacy … to name just a few that have never stopped humans before) but necessary for long space flights and colonization. She just wants to make sure the baby is born healthy despite a gestation period full of weightlessness, magnetic field changes, radiation and other stresses and dangers. If those can affect an astronaut – as the Scott and Mark Kelly twin experiments showed – then they would certainly affect an embryo that is much more sensitive to them.
How does Irina Ogneva change cosmonaut attitudes from “smile and reject” to “smile and eject”? Maybe she should offer the experiment to a paying space tourist.