Even if SpaceLife Origin finds a willing participant—and Edelbroek stresses that she will be calling the shots—would it be ethical for the company to send her? The doctors who would supposedly accompany her, too, might risk violating the physician’s oath: “First, do no harm.” It seems difficult to make the case that helping launch a pregnant woman into space follows this promise.
“Most of the pregnant women I know feel great comfort in knowing that they have access to medical help if there’s an issue during a delivery—or prior to a delivery, or after a delivery,” says Virginia E. Wotring, a professor of space medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. “Putting people in a situation where they are many, many, many miles away from medical help does not seem to be advisable.”
Let’s set aside, for a moment, the question of how SpaceLife will time labor contractions with a rocket launch to get their participant into space just in time for delivery. Astronauts usually experience three times the force of gravity during the ascent to orbit. In the case of a botched launch and emergency landing, that force triples. It’s unclear what effect such extreme pressure could have on a pregnant person.