The effect of space travel on human reproductive health: a systematic review

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With increasing possibilities of multi-year missions in deep space, colonizing other planets, and space tourism, it is important to investigate the effects of space travel on human reproduction. This study aimed to systematically review and summarize the results of available literature on space travel, microgravity, and space radiation, or Earth-based spaceflight analogues impact on female and male reproductive functions in humans. This systematic review was performed according to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines and Space Biomedicine Systematic Review methods. The search was performed using three databases: PubMed, Web of Science, and Medline Complete. During the database search, 364 studies were identified. After the study selection process, 16 studies were included in the review. Five studies included female participants, and the findings show an increased risk of thromboembolism in combined oral contraceptive users, decreased decidualization, functional insufficiency of corpus luteum, and decreased progesterone and LH levels related to space travel or its simulation. Male participants were included in 13 studies. In males, reproductive health considerations focused on the decrease in testosterone and sex hormone-binding globulin levels, the ratio of male offspring, sperm motility, sperm vitality, and the increase in sperm DNA fragmentation related to space travel or its simulation. Results of this systematic review highlight the need to focus more on the astronaut’s reproductive health in future research, as only 16 studies were found during the literature search, and many more research questions related to reproductive health in astronauts still need to be answered.




Gimunová, M., Paludo, A. C., Bernaciková, M., & Bienertova-Vasku, J. (2024, December 1). The effect of space travel on human reproductive health: a systematic review. Npj Microgravity. Nature Research.

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