Imagine a medieval society composed entirely of women, with some small number of machines (let's say 7) which can take material from two women and combines it to create an embryo that's implanted in one of the women. The whole process is fast, let's say it takes one second from start to finish.

"Queens" have taken control of these machines, and any woman who wants to have children performs a pilgrimage to where a machine is located. The woman has an embryo implanted whose parents are her and the queen.

Clearly, all the children created through this process would be women, and half-sisters with many other people. What social norms (perhaps regarding family structure) could we expect to develop in this environment?

Edit: By "medieval" I mean medieval tech levels, so no electricity, no modern weaponry, poor sanitation, etc.

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    $\begingroup$ I presume that concept of a family as we know it would not exist in this society, but yours is really an open-ended question. $\endgroup$
    – Alexander
    May 18, 2022 at 22:02
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    $\begingroup$ I’m voting to close this question because it is both a high concept question and an open-ended question. The problem with questions like this is they are broad, not objective and you've provided no criteria for judging a best answer. Per our help center, questions must be reasonably objective and specific. Inviting us to invent and entire societal context is too much. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    May 18, 2022 at 22:21
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    $\begingroup$ Interesting concept, but far too broad to be answerable. Looking at the flipside, consider the enormous variety in actual medieval societies in different places with real world reproduction and how long the answer for each society would be. Further, 7 "queens with machines" are not going to be sufficient to let a world maintain a sustainable population yet no information has been provided on the other societies that may influence this one. $\endgroup$ May 18, 2022 at 22:25
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the feedback. Should I delete the question? $\endgroup$ May 18, 2022 at 23:00
  • $\begingroup$ (1) What is the meaning of the word "medieval" in this question? It clearly does not mean what it means in ordinary speech. (2) The differences between any kind of real-history medieval society (western European, eastern European, Byzantine, Ottoman, Persian, Indian, Chinese, Japanese etc.) and "ours", whatever this word is taken to mean, are many and some of them are profound. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    May 18, 2022 at 23:05

1 Answer 1


I should think that a 'family' would be a rather loose concept. Clearly, with only one true parent readily accessible to a child, I can envision several 'families' consisting of a woman and child would group together and live together. This would facilitate long-lasting relationships between the children who live together and probably the adults as well. I can see two or three 'families' combining to form a superfamily of sorts. Possibly four could group, but I wouldn't push it past four.

From a cultural point of view, the medieval ages (the real ones, not the one in your story's universe) are rich with epic tales of war and romances. I'm not sure how a society of only female individuals would affect the occurrence of war, but regarding romance, there would be no literature written. Instead, everything would revolve around being able to access one of these 'machines.'

With a group of people who are all genetically fairly similar, they would be more tolerant of each other and probably highly suspicious of foreigners or those who were not the product of the 'machines.'

Another thing to think about: there aren't that many machines, and I can imagine several scenarios in which not everyone is able to access them. This would create rivalry between those who have children and the extreme poor who cannot afford a lengthy pilgrimage and have no children. Everything would revolve around getting enough money to be at least somewhat middle-class, so that a pilgrimage would be practical.


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