Follow-Up to this question: How can the wealthy prevent the illegal propagation of their genetic code?

The rich and fabulous in today's world have the significant problem of how to protect their wealth. Technology has advanced to the point in which the genetic structure of an individual can be copied and reproduced multiple times. This is often done to create persons with their DNA to pose as heirs to a vast fortune, or even clones to replace the original. Many lawsuits have been directed toward rich dynasties, demanding large sums of money due to them being blood related. Occasionally, these lawsuits have been successful, cleaning those families out and sending them to the poor house. To counteract this, the 1% have taken to making all offspring sterile at birth. This leads to future offspring being created in labs with reproductive technology such as artificial wombs. In this way, the only recognized offspring of a dynasty are created artificially instead of naturally.

As time goes on and more people become comfortable with the technology, it becomes more widespread. This is a serious problem, because it prevents it from remaining a staple of the rich and famous and puts it into the hands of the poor, unwashed masses. This puts too much power in the hands of the unworthy, threatening the power structure that we have been steadily building for generations. Artificial wombs need to be marketed to the wealthy while at the same time kept out of the hands of the masses. The difficulty is in convincing a large group of people that this is in their best interest. As this is the age of the internet, the masses can see the benefits of this technology in plain sight, making this hard to justify. Protests and hatred can ensue, putting society at risk of rebellion. Keeping costs high are also a problem, since when technology advances in a capitalist system, it ultimately becomes cheaper to replicate, opening the floodgates to regular people.

I need to ensure that artificial wombs stay in the hands of certain people without causing the headache of an outraged and angry public, creating this two-tier system. How can I convince large numbers of people to avoid reproductive technology while marketing its benefits to the top class at the same time?

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    $\begingroup$ Wouldn't it be easier to adjust inheritance laws to target specific people, then add some kind of encryption device to children when they are born to prove they are themselves? A coded string read via X-ray embedded inside the skull bone from birth. Since you can't prove paternity by DNA anymore, it's the next best thing and a lot harder to fake. $\endgroup$
    – DWKraus
    Aug 12, 2021 at 3:41
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    $\begingroup$ If cloning is so advances you can create clones that appear to be the same age as the original, the law has long since been adjusted to deal with cloning technology. Also we already have a solution to the problem it is called a Will. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Aug 12, 2021 at 4:49
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    $\begingroup$ Please explain how these artificial wombs are making life easier for anyone. Seems to entirely disregard typical female psychology. (And male, to a certain extent.) $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Aug 12, 2021 at 5:26
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    $\begingroup$ "it becomes more widespread. This is a serious problem, because it prevents it from remaining a staple of the rich"... Why being widespread is a problem? "This puts too much power [in the masses]". What power? $\endgroup$
    – Pablo H
    Aug 12, 2021 at 14:53
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    $\begingroup$ All else aside, this is still (like the recent similar question) based on a remarkably wrong assumption: that sharing DNA means you're entitled to inheritances &c. Even if that's legally the case now, as it may be in some places, the laws can be changed to reflect the new reality. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Aug 12, 2021 at 16:41

8 Answers 8


The global healthcare system needs some american freedom

If you live in the USA and you belong to the masses, chances are healthcare is so expensive that you might die for want of money. Last data I had on healthcare crowdsourcing showed that:

A third of the money raised on GoFundMe in 2017 was for medical expenses. This isn’t surprising, given that the United States has the highest over-all health-care costs in the developed world. Since 2008, health-insurance deductibles have increased eight times as quickly as wages.

Feel bad yet? Look at the costs of Insulin for patients around the world. Just one example (all prices per milliliter and in USD):

Humulin (Short-Acting Insulin)

  • United States: 39.63
  • Ghana: 2.30
  • Pakistan: 0.50
  • India: 0.36
  • Rwanda: 0.10
  • United Kingdom: 0.00

And then there was that time in 2015 when a massive ******* bought the rights to an anti-malarial drug and hiked the price per dose from 13.50 USD to 750 USD overnight. Oh, that medication was also used for HIV-relates toxoplasmosis too.

So you see, artificial wombs are covered by healthcare. As long as the healthcare system has FREEDOM, it will naturally be out of reach for the poor.

Also an artificial womb has a killswitch you can use if you wish to abort. That will cause the pro-life half of the population to sporadically attack, and violently so, any clinics that do try to offer artificial wombs to the poor. The clinics for the rich have guards armed with fully automatic weapons, so the pro-life people leave those alone (they can't afford a 154,000.00 USD medical bill per person for gunshot wounds).

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    $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Aug 15, 2021 at 4:03

I can see the headlines now...

"Artificial Wombs Unmasked: Could the Government be implanting tracking chips in YOUR children?"

"Previously-unpublished internal reports reveal corner-cutting during testing of Artificial Womb technology"

Just bribe a few newspapers to start spreading bad rumors about whatever technology you want to suppress, perhaps with a few papers written by (also bribed, or perhaps among the wealthy) eminent scientists on how the technology is unsafe or did not go through proper testing procedures.

You can always count on conspiracy theories and gossip to discourage people from logical paths. 😄

One last one...

"New study finds children from Artificial Wombs susceptible to brainwashing from flat-earthers"

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    $\begingroup$ +1, sigh.... ;-( $\endgroup$ Aug 12, 2021 at 18:23
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, promoting conspiracy theories is definitely the way to go. I mean, a bunch of people who know literally nothing about medicine, biochemistry, or apparently even exponential growth functions have convinced nearly half the population that a vaccine to which literally no serious adverse side effects have been definitively correlated after hundreds of millions of doses administered is somehow more dangerous than a disease that has killed over 600,000 people in the U.S. alone, despite mountains of evidence to the contrary. Fear of the unknown is powerful. $\endgroup$
    – reirab
    Aug 12, 2021 at 18:24
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    $\begingroup$ Also one thing this artificial womb has is a DIRECT link to children. I know a lot of ppl around me (sigh) aren't happy about the vaccine, but since it's not "children", they don't mind quite as much. There is often a visceral reaction when it comes to little ones, and with artificial womb, I can see this turning VERY "propaganda" like. ("artificial wombs make your child taste better to democrat cannibals?" anyone?) $\endgroup$
    – Patrice
    Aug 13, 2021 at 16:28
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    $\begingroup$ @TCooper the technology used to produce some vaccines ( AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson ) is very established - so I assume you're referring to the mRNA vaccines. But you could easily opt to not get one of those ( even though personally, I'd prefer them, as current data is looking very good, and the technology has been researched quite thoroughly ) $\endgroup$
    – bytepusher
    Aug 14, 2021 at 2:35
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    $\begingroup$ @Firestryke Good news! If your immune system is strong, then you're a perfect candidate for the vaccines, as helping your immune system prevent infection is exactly what they do! I'm assuming you're in the USA since you mention the FDA. In that case, more good news! The vaccines are free. You don't need to pay anything for them. Unfortunately, millions of people who think exactly what you just said have now died or had major organ damage because it turns out that Covid can be a quite serious disease regardless of the strength of your immune system. And lots more have spread it to others. $\endgroup$
    – reirab
    Aug 14, 2021 at 17:12

Religious beliefs seem to be pretty effective at keeping people away from technology and certain technological applications.

Notorious examples are certain groups still using horse drawn carts or other groups refusing blood transfusion out of religion based objections.

If your holy book states that physical intercourse is the only legit way to conceive, the masses will follow.

  • $\begingroup$ But note that a lot of us ride horses, or walk, run, bike, &c, even though from a certain point of view, using a car or motorcycle might make our lives easier. Easy is not always fun: it would sure be a lot easier to take helicopters to the top of mountains :-) $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Aug 12, 2021 at 5:30
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    $\begingroup$ Applied example in the Altered Carbon / Takeshi Kovacs series - Neo Catholics are against using easily available technology (stacks) to "bring people back to life" $\endgroup$ Aug 12, 2021 at 7:49
  • $\begingroup$ @jamesqf Though many who ride horses and walk (especially in the western and mid-western US) also drive cars. $\endgroup$
    – ShadoCat
    Aug 14, 2021 at 0:23
  • $\begingroup$ @ShadoCat: And some of us even enjoy driving cars, and working on them, even if it would be easier to buy a Tesla with Autopilot, and take them to the dealers for service. My point is that "easier" and "enjoyable" are two different things. People might well prefer making babies the old fashioned way... $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Aug 14, 2021 at 17:02

Identity frame challenge

Although it might be bad if there are people cloning your DNA, the artificial womb offers many other advantages. Genetic engineering can help overcome diseases and eventually will be used for 'designer babies'. Humans that are created with specific abilities and such.

Even without that, the whole question revolves around identity. Who is this person and is this person related. The artificial womb can actually help here. DNA is a nice way of identifying people and offspring, but if that is compromised you look for a different method. If it can be copied or you make designer babies this is severely compromised.

We've been trying to establish identity since we started to build societies. We have cards and numbers and profiles. Why not use such things to add an identity layer?

Rich people will place their own identity chips into people, allowing them to track their official offspring. This can both be a common practice or rich people only. If a clone misses this chip or the chip doesn't comform to the rich person's tag, it is regarded as a fake.


Growing with artificial wombs is done on purpose. That means we can use that step to add a non-DNA method for identification. Add a chip or something similar into the body with identification information, including official records when and where it was created. That means that even if you clone the person and the chip, you can see in the records when the human was created and via the DNA you can check the age. If things do not match up, it will not be regarded as your own.

  • $\begingroup$ But does DNA have anything to do with identity? Suppose a different case: medical science has advanced to the point where you can transfer all your thoughts & memories into a different body, which might have entirely different DNA (or even no DNA at all, in the case of androids). Are you not still "you", even though your DNA is different? Or you've received gene therapy to cure some disease, which means your DNA is (slightly) different: are you a different person? $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Aug 14, 2021 at 17:09
  • $\begingroup$ @jamesqf identity is written into the question. It's about heirs and clones, to which I also added DNA editing. Cloning a rich person from their DNA and replacing them, or claiming they made a legitimate child through DNA match to claim fortune is all about identity. You want to know who is legitimately made by your own design. $\endgroup$
    – Trioxidane
    Aug 15, 2021 at 8:12
  • $\begingroup$ So call my comments a frame challenge. It's basically a really dumb situation (not to say that such aren't possible). To take your replacement clone question, and ignoring the difficulties of making the clone appear the same age as the original, you determine identity by what they KNOW, e.g. the passwords of their Cayman Islands bank accounts. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Aug 16, 2021 at 3:09
  • $\begingroup$ @jamesqf I'm not sure what you want. If you think it's an imaginary frame challenge: "This is often done to create persons with their DNA to pose as heirs to a vast fortune, or even clones to replace the original." From the original question. If you want me to answer your 'frame comment', then I'll say most of it is philosophy. As for what people know, it is actually impressive how much rich people outsource. This includes bank accounts. Other things they know might be difficult to learn, yet seem to be a problem for Incognito. $\endgroup$
    – Trioxidane
    Aug 16, 2021 at 6:26
  • $\begingroup$ What I've been trying to say is - to be blunt - that both the question and your answer depend on a bunch of assumptions that border on the "not even wrong". $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Aug 17, 2021 at 6:27

If you want to keep it out of the hands of the poor you just have to make sure it never becomes cheap to use. Whether this is due to some factor in the operation of the device itself or due to manipulation is up to you.

Artificial gestation is inherently expensive

In order to gestate a human you need a lot of interesting hormones, nutrients and so on, all carefully balanced and so on. You'll need a source of compatible immune system components to ensure the fetus is born with a functional immune system. Synthetic amniotic fluid is devilishly difficult to create, and might require complete replacement on a regular basis. The exchange membranes on your artificial placenta are complex pieces of nano-engineering, possible involving some interesting meta-materials, and they need to be constantly maintained. Nutrients have to be carefully mixed and infused into the system. And don't forget the cost of the control equipment, nor the cost of running it.

All told the cost of artificial gestation might naturally be in the millions already, and that's just running costs. It doesn't include maintenance fees, setup costs and a number of other, less obvious costs.

And no, it's not covered by your health insurance.

Source materials are extremely rare

The various consumables that are required for the gestation process are the end result of many, many supply chains. Nutrients are synthetically created proteins, amino acids, lipids, carbohydrates... and a ton of vitamins and minerals. Any one of the components for the nutrient solution could be hard to acquire for some reason, and it's likely that you're going to have multiple thin and expensive supply lines for them.

Source materials are ethically questionable

You need white blood cells, which must be sourced from a genetically compatible donor with a healthy immune system. And you need to harvest them often. You also need a number of hormones that are not available outside the body of a pregnant human female. Perhaps you have to use actual amniotic fluid from the same place.

But extracting that amniotic fluid significantly endangers the donor's own pregnancy, and harvesting the pregnancy hormones is likely to result in developmental issues for the donor's child... if it survives. There are only two real ways to get your hands on those materials: buy them from the donor, or harvest them from unwilling subjects. Of course all the information on the process talks about proprietary synthesis processes, because you don't want the world to know what sort of monster you really are.

Sabotage the supply chains

If none of the above works for you, you can mess with the supply chains. Somewhere in the network of operations required to get your amniotic fluid, white cells, nutrients and hormones there are bound to be a few choke points. Choke them to the point that only a trickle of the required materials are even being produced, and most of the production is ultimately required for your artificial wombs.

Of course there's nothing saying you can't make a little profit in the process. Find a process that competes with the devices for a particular resource, then promote the hell out of it. Make it something that makes people happy, or has some significant social value. Your goal is to have it absorb most of the raw materials, leaving fewer for your gestation devices. Anyone attempting to set up their own competing womb would have to compete with two or more existing systems for resources. A thorny situation indeed.

Protect the process

Assuming that it exists in your world, the patent system might be a significant impediment. Buy up every relevant patent you can get your hands on, through shell and puppet companies of course. Regulate them, charge additional licensing fees, sue anyone who attempts to use your IP.

In short, use all the tactics of corporate warfare, up to and including the covert ones: blackmail, intimidation, bribery, smearing... the normal, ruthless tools of big business.

Make it horrifically unsafe

Make some intentional monsters and use them as advertising to show the dangers of the technology. Advertise some false numbers for how often it fails. Generally run an anti-PC campaign for the whole thing. Make sure that the public knows that this is a terribly risky system that only a few people are able to afford.

Yes, you can lie if you want to.

Retain some troubleshooting services

They're not mercenaries, they're professionals who get stuff done. Stuff like sneaking into warehouses and research facilities to retrieve or destroy important components. After all, if the machines never work they're going too stop trying.

There are bound to be other ideas that we haven't seen in the answers. Hopefully some of these ideas are of use.



Religion has successfully been used for millennia to suppress technological advances that were considered "against" the deity of that particular religion, often because said advances would endanger said religion's self-appointed enforcers on the mortal plane.

More recently, social media has been used to convince people that voting for a man who is an obvious liar and fraud is the smart thing to do, and that a vaccination that can literally save their lives is something to be avoided.

  • $\begingroup$ Agreed. A great way to go here is to push the idea that articial wombs create a serious problem like, a secondary disese, or insanity. Making a case that articial wombs add some kind of tracking device or that standing in proximity to people who have been created via an artificial womb cause sterility.... insert any measure of relationship here to get the full effect including that as artificial womb usage has increased, global warming has had a corresponding increase... etc. $\endgroup$
    – Rich Maes
    Aug 12, 2021 at 16:41

It is not possible to stop the spread of this technology.

Even with the crazy US healthcare system new technologies eventually become available to the general public. Not only have technologies become cheaper, but health providers offer various financing options to attract more customers.

If people cannot afford to pay in full, artificial womb clinics will offer credits with monthly payments. And people will agree, because it is about the future of their children and because all the rich people do it.

Do not underestimate human greed (technology providers) and vanity (consumers).

Some small groups may favour 'natural' reproduction for various reasons. But the majority will follow the elites.


My Momma taught me that if you work hard and do good at your job, one day your boss can clone himself.

In case you missed it, within the last month or two, a couple unnamed billionaires shot themselves to various extreme altitudes, becoming the first civilians in what might variously be considered space. Me being a big fan of space travel, I was expecting a lot people, especially people like me, to think this was really cool. Imagine my surprise when a hefty chunk of people, including fellow space nuts, instead started weaponizing this momentous achievement to attack them for being rich.

Generally speaking, a lot of poor people do not trust the rich (whether this is good or bad is an entirely separate conversation that I hope not to have here). This seems like something that could very easily be weaponized back against the poor to encourage them not to pursue tech that the media (controlled by the rich) convinces the poor is ostentatious, vain, against the natural order. Get that ball rolling, and you might not be able to stop it even if you wanted to.

  • $\begingroup$ NOT the first civilians. Many if not most NASA, ESA, &c astronauts are civilians. There have been half a dozen tourist visits to the ISS. And AFAIK, SpaceX crew members are all civilians. (Perhaps the "weaponizing" is more because of the seeming pointlessness of sub-orbital flights?) $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Aug 13, 2021 at 2:39
  • $\begingroup$ The poor is against the rich not for the technology, but for the fact that they throw a bunch of money and use the technology for fun while their workers are working in subhuman condition. Someone had said that "you can lie to a small group permanently, and you can lie to a big group temporarily, but you can never lie to a big group permanently. Someone is going to figure out a lie, and if the flame of revolution is ignited, some rich dude is going to get the Louis XVI treatment $\endgroup$
    – Faito Dayo
    Aug 14, 2021 at 2:35

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