While fleshing out the details of my species, I have some concerns regarding reproduction. This species has several constraints which make it difficult to get pregnant and reproduce. These include:
- To reproduce, a connection between the two needs to be made which is both physical and mental, and difficult* to establish succesfully
- An individual can only have one partner in its lifetime. So reproduction can only occur with this other individual (this constraint is when the connection mentioned above is made properly: if the connection is made, they are partners for life. If not, they can break up and look for someone else)
- Couples usually have two children (the mode, not the average)
- The total population is small (<1000), so finding the right partner might be difficult
There are some positive notes to consider as well:
- Health care is very good, so little disease and death except from old age
- If above conditions are met, conception is usually successful
- Species is intelligent, so careful decisions can be made
I am concerned that this species has too much of a difficulty to reproduce to make it viable or at least believable. You would think that such a species would probably have gone extinct. I would like the species to be sustainable.
My main question is: how can I make this species viable? What can I add to their culture / world / other to make their existence believable? In other words: are there any prerequisites I need to fulfil for it to work?
My first idea is to embed the 'find your soul mate' more into their culture, making it a major point on everyone's agenda. I'm not sure yet if this fits the world as it is in my mind, and would love some more input. I'm okay with the idea that the difficult connection as mentioned in the major issue above is more of a recent thing, and that in the past it was a lot easier. But that does not prevent them from going extinct in the (near) future.
*Difficult meaning that if the partner is not right, the connection can not be made completely and reproduction is not possible. This goes, of course, both ways. Whether a partner is 'right' depends more on the mental aspect and trust. It can be build between two individuals, but it takes time.
Addition: the size of the population and its viability, also regarding number of children or reproductive rates is out of scope for this question. That is already covered in an earlier question: How small can a population be with regard to genetic diversity?