I'd like to create a sci-fi story with a country or planet where only men are allowed to live and they use in vitro gametogenesis and ectogenesis (artificial womb) to have children without any woman.

If new reproductive technologies like in vitro gametogenesis (IVG) and artificial womb s(ectogenesis) become possible and accessible in the future, single men or/and gay male couples could reproduce alone without any women involved. Men could make eggs and sperm with their stem cells through in vitro gametogenesis and the fetus could grow in an artificial womb. Motherless babies will become possible. So men could have also more reproductive rights (the same or even more reproductive rights than women). Men could begin to think that women will lose their reproductive value and become unnecessary in a reproductive point of view. In the more distant future all male society may exist. And also all female societies.

Sterile women who cannot get pregnant at all (like women with CAIS) could also use the technology to reproduce. In fact anyone could reproduce with these things. Even old women.

These technologies may also help to decrease the social differences between men and women and make women do things they didn't do in most of humanity's history like for example fight and die in wars like men do.

Realize that I don't want to be sexist and I'm not against women at all, it's just a curiosity and I want to see other people's opinions.

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    $\begingroup$ It is the stuff of good speculative science fiction. Brave New World had a fair bit about this premise: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bokanovsky%27s_Process $\endgroup$ – Willk Jun 13 at 3:17
  • $\begingroup$ I sincerely hope not. $\endgroup$ – StephenG Jun 13 at 4:06
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    $\begingroup$ We don't ask for opinion. We strive to provide measurable solutions. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch Jun 13 at 4:37
  • $\begingroup$ That's the premise of 1984 polish comedy Sexmission en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexmission $\endgroup$ – SZCZERZO KŁY Jun 13 at 8:52
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    $\begingroup$ I commend to your attention Lois McMaster Bujold's book in the Vorkosiverse Ethan of Athos. $\endgroup$ – Jeff Zeitlin Jun 13 at 12:15

The short answer to your question is Yes, such a society is possible, but I suspect that the question behind the question is what such a society would look like, so I'm going to answer that in more detail.

I'm of the view that focusing on the nature of reproduction and extrapolating a culture fails to take into account the far more energy intensive aspect of reproduction; raising the child. This is (arguably) why marriage evolved from an anthropological perspective; raising a child (or children) takes a massive amount of effort and energy; women struggle to do it by themselves, but men want some surety that the effort they put into the raising of children is going to directly benefit themselves, genetically speaking. So, a contract is made whereby the man agrees to pool resources with the woman to raise her children, and the woman agrees that in return, all the children he's helping to support are his. If this contract is ubiquitously in place for all couples who procreate, then the discussion of reproductive rights of both the man AND the woman become redundant but we know we don't live in such a world and as far as the scope of the question is concerned, I digress.

In a culture where children are basically all vat grown (I'm going to use that term to differentiate between the artificial womb and a normal biological pregnancy; no offence is intended), the energy cost to the woman of gestation is negated. But, what about raising the child? Providing it with food, protection, and guidance? This is where the real cost of children is, as any parent, male or female, will tell you.

So, who ultimately raises the child?

Well, the answer is more or less the same as it has always been - the biological parents. In this case though, that could be any mix of gender really and as such, it's entirely possible that you'd see pairings that look suspiciously like marriage pop up even in a single gender society because the effort involved in raising a child will still be borne by those who contribute to the genetic heritage of the child in question because they are the ones to benefit from raising the child in the first place.

But, a note on some of your other comments - Yes, in a wartime situation historically it has been men and not women who have fought as soldiers. But, that fact doesn't justify the perpetuation of the myth of the violent male. In my experience, women can be (and often are) just as aggressive (if not more so) than men in many cases. The stereotype of a caring mother and indifferent father just isn't true and needs to be challenged at every level.

Men (on average) are larger and stronger than women, and that means that they tend to manifest their aggression physically. But, women can be just as violent, often inflicting emotional violence where they are not in a position to inflict physical violence due to a mismatch of physique.

By the same token, fathers (in my experience) love their children every bit as much as mothers do, again more so in some cases. The reason why this is not expressed the same way is that society sees the responsibility of providing for the family as belonging to the father, thus forcing him to distract himself from the effort of child raising with the effort of providing for the family as well.

This, ironically, is what is retarding modern feminism's advancement; the focus on rights has put those rights out of equilibrium with gender based responsibilities and expectations meaning that until the women's rights movements become women's responsibilities movements, they will struggle to make further progress, but again I digress.

The point of all this is that a child having two fathers, especially in a single gender environment, will in no way retard the development of the child. In point of fact, because having children is a conscious choice in such an environment, and can't occur by accident, children raised by two fathers in your world are probably subjected to even better levels of nurturing and guidance than modern children are.

Put even more simply, it is a mistake to confuse gender stereotypes and cultural expectations with gender based capabilities. Fathers are every bit as capable at being parents as mothers, and in your world, away from the current gender based expectations and responsibilities, would be more than capable of demonstrating that.

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    $\begingroup$ Yes, and did you know that a single father can breastfeed a bbay if given the necessary hormones like prolactin? $\endgroup$ – Sabrine Crystal Santos Jun 13 at 3:24
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    $\begingroup$ @SabrineCrystalSantos yes I have heard that and read a lot of the literature on the matter (especially related to anti-psychotic medications like Risperadone) but I'd also say that breastfeeding isn't necessarily a function of child raising any more than biological gestation is in your world. Breastfeeding (IMHO) promotes attachment for the mother more than it does for the child, certainly based on my reading of what research I've come across on the topic in the past. $\endgroup$ – Tim B II Jun 13 at 3:47
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    $\begingroup$ I do wonder about the emergence of new gender roles/stereotypes, for example the Samoan fa’afafine is a recognised third (genetically Male) gender role that explicitly encompasses what would be considered feminine traits and roles in a more westernised culture. It might be (depending on the social constructs in place) that new genders emerge to represent the caregiver/provider dynamic we see now. Or maybe not. It’s an interesting train of thought. $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Jun 13 at 8:42
  • $\begingroup$ Always find digs on feminists being against men's issues super confusing - modern feminism does care about men's liberation, and has had a long history of caring about it in the past: reddit.com/r/MensLib/comments/3tn9kc/… $\endgroup$ – elstevenson Jun 13 at 17:45
  • $\begingroup$ @elstevenson firstly, this is not a dig, merely an observation. Secondly, while there are some elements of feminism that may care about men's rights, that's not the public face that is presented, especially in Australia where a lot of men feel genuinely under siege and are publicly castigated for saying so. And finally, you don't solve the imbalance in rights by asking for more rights, even for the other side. You solve it by changing public perception about expectations and responsibilities. My point is that equal rights are achieved by balancing responsibilities and rights in concert. $\endgroup$ – Tim B II Jun 13 at 23:22

Yes, but there are some genetic issues...


DNA is packaged in Chromosomes. Each human (generally) has 46 Chromosomes arranged in 23 pairs. The two chromosomes in a pair provide the same biological utility but are not genetically identical.

In Humans gender is heavily influenced by a pair of chromosomes. They are generally refereed to as X and Y chromosomes, and they usually exist in pairs of: XX (female), and XY (male). YX is the same as saying XY. I'll use the alphabetical ordering as the standard.

There are other combinations of sex chromosomes but these are Rare, and my point is made with the common combinations.

The problem here is that a purely male population consists of individuals holding XY chromosomes. This means that a purely male population can produce: XX, XY, YX, and YY combinations.

This means that without intervention roughly 50% of the offspring made will be male, 25% will be female, and the other 25% would probably die.

Genetically speaking a male-only population is unstable. Without constant intervention, and murder of any female baby that accidentally survived, the population will eventual evolve into a female/male society.

Hormones and defective Ys

Even with such provisions in place to ensure that all individuals posses exactly one X and one Y chromosome, it is still possible for society to develop females. This occurs due to either a genetic failure in the Y-chromosome or an altered hormonal chemistry that deactivates the Y-chromosome. These things can happen entirely naturally, and can most definitely be induced via certain drugs.

These genetically male, but observable female individuals cannot be avoided without serious genetic modification to the populace. This is because to be (a human) Male means to contain all the genetic information to be (a human) Female.

Birds and the bees

Now if human gender operated like birds the story would be different. A male Bird contains ZZ sex chromosomes, and a female bird contains WZ sex chromosomes. A pure male bird society would be stable. It would only ever produce males.

It would be a female only bird society that would eventually produce a male/female society if left unchecked.


What this would suggest is that a pure (human) male society, or a pure (avian) female society would have a draconian edge to it. Population scale genetic engineering, genetic reproductive controls, and even biological evaluations as individuals grew up with some form of enforcement (death, sterilisation, etc...) would need to occur to keep the society purely that gender.

Aside from that, chances are that such a society would be more likely to cherish their offspring. The simple fact is that purchasing, maintaining, and operating such external reproductive equipment would require wealth, and skill. This would raise a barrier to entry not found in our modern society. In fact the barrier operates in the other direction as couples in our modern society must invest in not having children.

Alternately such a society could organise along collective lines lowering the entry barrier by collaborating in a larger group. Think clan, community, or state birthing facilities. However these systems tend to raise artificial barriers to impede overuse...

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    $\begingroup$ This issue goes away if the reproduction isn’t sexual. A race of all Male clones could, given good initial stock and careful genetic caretaking, last indefinitely. $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Jun 13 at 8:34
  • $\begingroup$ The men in my story would not all have only xy chromossomes. They could have XX choromossoes but they would all have to be physiologically male. $\endgroup$ – Sabrine Crystal Santos Jun 13 at 14:19
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    $\begingroup$ @JoeBloggs yes it could indeed last indefinitely - By a massive genetic rewrite to bring human male dna inline with an avian sexual chromosomal pattern, or by rather horrific social institutions that select, and engineer reproductive conditions, along with draconian measures to prevent unauthorised reproduction, and the socially sanctioned murder of anomalies (aka females). $\endgroup$ – Kain0_0 Jun 14 at 2:04
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    $\begingroup$ @SabrineCrystalSantos You can of course write your story however you like. Statistics point out that roughly 1 in 25000 males have XX. Just be aware that a society that is advanced enough and sufficiently without qualms to genetically engineer children to be strictly male, would also like to avoid the numerous developmental conditions that XX males tend to suffer from. As an aside, while observably male, they tend to have pronounced feminine traits. As society appears to be averse to women, this may be a societal hot issue. $\endgroup$ – Kain0_0 Jun 14 at 2:18
  • $\begingroup$ @KainO_O: I feel like you missed an important word in my comment. Cloned males will still be all XY, with no possibility of another chromosomal pairing because they’re.. well, they’re clones. Like father like son, quite literally. $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Jun 14 at 7:41

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