Pau Gasol plans to freeze his sperm fearing potential Zika virus in the Rio Olympics

  • Basketball star Pau Gasol is considering freezing his sperm as he is set to join the Rio Olympics
  • There is growing concern over the Zika virus that is spread in Brazil and in Latin America
  • Thousands of athletes and tourists are expected to head to Brazil for the Olympics

Basketball player Pau Gasol of the Chicago Bulls  is highly considering the possibility of freezing his sperm as he is set to represent his home country Spain in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

For over a year now, Brazil and many parts of Latin America has been plagued by the threatening Zika virus, which causes birth defects among children of those infected.

The 35-year-old NBA athlete said he is not taking his chances “even if the risks are minimal.”

“I’ve done a lot of research, and it’s confirmed my fears, even if the risks are minimal. Freezing sperm is one of the options that must be taken into account, and I will consider it if I go to the Games. It’s good that there’s been a lot of debate and progress in terms of prevention, but the reality is still worrying,” Gasol explained to Agence France-Presse as previously quoted by GMA News.

Meanwhile, Brazil’s Health Minister Ricardo Barros quelled fears among the international community of the spread of the virus due to the hosting of the Olympics where teams from more than 200 countries will be competing in.

“The statistical forecast is that out of the 500,000 foreigners coming to the Games in Rio, less than one tourist will be infected,” Barros said.

So far, around 1.5 million people in Brazil have already been infected by the virus, and about 1,300 babies were born with abnormally smaller heads and brains due to a condition called microcephaly which is a direct result of the virus.

There is currently no vaccine for the Zika virus, which is transmitted by mosquitos and in some cases, as a sexually transmitted disease.