Lebensborn is a Schutzstaffel-led state-supported program led by the Eternal Reich with the stated goal of increasing the number of children who meet the Nazi standards of racially pure and healthy Aryans based on Nazi eugenics. The Reich now possess the technology to allow Lebensborn to return its cost on capital at a much quicker rate. Human beings can now be made in batches from artificial wombs, using the cells of random men and women. These machines would house the developing fetus, containing it into adulthood. Through this methods, thousands of individuals can be grown at the same time at special facilities created for this purpose. The process can now be accelerated to provide a fully grown adult in five years. These individuals will be raised in-vitro to better control indoctrination and given the training necessary to make them useful on the battlefield.

When the adult is fully ready, they will be decanted from the machine womb and enter the real world. One problem that has yet to be addressed is the atrophy that is likely to have developed as the soldier takes their first steps into reality. While they were able to perfectly function in carefully constructed simulations, they would never have used their limbs or muscles before in real life. This would leave them uncoordinated at best and paralyzed at worst, with perhaps a low chance of recovery. Breathing and other organ functions are likely to be a problem as well, and the person could very well die shortly after being decanted from the machine. The Reich needs its soldiers immediately in order to stave off the tide and hold back the enemy. Rapidly grown individuals that can't function on the real battlefield would make the process an expensive waste in time and money and compromise the rule of the great Aryan people.

How can I avoid muscle atrophy during the inactive time in the artificial womb so that the soldiers will function normally after decanting?

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    $\begingroup$ Right, so this unimaginably advanced life-sciences engineering has solved the problem of manufacturing artificial wombs, has solved the problem of transferring knowledge and education into a developing brain, has solved the problem of accelerating growth and development, but it is somehow unable to solve the problem of keeping muscles and tendons and bones stimulated? And we are expected to come up with solutions to the small problem while having no idea how they solved the really difficult problems? Obviously, the only possible answer is "by adjusting the growth and development process". $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Commented Feb 27, 2023 at 16:59
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    $\begingroup$ @Incognito OP I think you've a valid issue there with the standard oft used sci-fi trope of clones being produced as full grown adults 👍 .. but your lengthy background story doesn't actually add any value or information to your question in my opinion, in fact it detracts by drawing attention away from the actual question and may well lead to irrelevant (to the core question) issues and complaints from some .. as evidenced by the comment from Alex 😉 .. somewhat paradoxically, sometimes, less is more 🤗 $\endgroup$
    – Pelinore
    Commented Feb 27, 2023 at 18:20
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    $\begingroup$ @Pelinore that isn't even new feedback... $\endgroup$
    – VLAZ
    Commented Feb 27, 2023 at 19:07
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    $\begingroup$ 3 Hours is not enough time to get enough feedback when using the sandbox. A user with your level of experience on this site should not only know this but be familiar enough with site policy to not repeatedly ask questions that do not belong on this site. Knock it off. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Commented Feb 27, 2023 at 23:05
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    $\begingroup$ @JBH: I don't understand your comment. All I said is that the question asks us to assume that a tremendously advanced civilization, which has solved extremely difficult problems of which we have no idea how to begin approaching, has somehow forgot to address a relatively simple problem, which even a primitive civilization like ours can address, albeit with difficulty and uncertain results. In normal engineering practice the simple problem would be addressed as part of the solution for the difficult problems, wouldn't it? $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Commented Feb 28, 2023 at 16:55

4 Answers 4


Growing normally

The answer is already in your own story. Fully grown women and men aren't made in five years. That means that during those five years everything is still growing. If it's growing it is not going to have atrophy problems. It seems a little step to accelerate growth in a controlled way for a five year grown human, but somehow let the muscles atrophy.

Given they have five years of growing you can easily add another month of revalidation after decanting. This is still unbelievably fast. All the things they learned should be general enough to allow them to do basic movement, even if a little uncoordinated. They should learn quickly, especially if you keep the brain still a bit in growth/learning stages of younger people in that time.

If you want them immediately ready after decanting, you can invoke the suspension of disbelief they already have. It is a much greater stretch to believe fast growth, learning and the control over it. Being ready immediately is then an insignificant step. The same counts for the atrophy if you did not like the earlier solution.

  • $\begingroup$ Huh 🥴 I didn't think of that, a colt is wobbly but functional straight out the womb and able to follow it's mother within minutes, same with all other ungulates, it might be a bit much to expect them to come out with a body builders physique unless you actually have them working out in the womb but walking within a few minutes and the required limb strength for that certainly should be doable yes 👍 $\endgroup$
    – Pelinore
    Commented Feb 27, 2023 at 18:27
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    $\begingroup$ @Pelinore bipedalism is pretty difficult. We think it's easy because we've been walking without thought for our whole lives minus one year. But people who have been in long-term comas need to relearn how to walk. $\endgroup$
    – RonJohn
    Commented Feb 28, 2023 at 14:49

Biology needs a little help from electricity

I get what you're trying to do, and I agree that no matter how well designed, unused muscles are still unused muscles. You likely have a bigger problem training the unused brain (which can't be done until after decanting), but I believe there is a path to success — and I've experienced it.

A long time ago on a mountain far, far away I enjoyed a skiing accident that left me in a cast for eighteen months. My doctor knew perfectly well that in that much time my encased leg would atrophy. So he hooked me up... to electricity.

In recent years, electrical myostimulation (EMS) is becoming more and more popular to increase muscle function and muscle weight. Especially it is applied in healthy individual after injury to rebuild muscle mass and in severely atrophic patients who are not able or willing to perform conventional exercise training programs. Studies in experimental models as well as in human subjects confirmed that EMS can increase muscle mass by around 1% and improve muscle function by around 10–15% after 5–6 weeks of treatment. Despite a severe increase in circulating creatine kinase during the first session, EMS can be regarded as a safe therapeutic intervention. At the molecular level, EMS improves the anabolic/catabolic balance and stimulates the regenerative capacity of satellite cells. (Source)

Humanity has been using electrical stimulation of muscles to minimize the onset of atrophy after injury for a very long time (at least 40 years, I'd bet a lot longer). Assuming the technological advancement you're presenting, the stimulation could be incorporated into the body rather than inducted through the skin, which would make it more efficient and more natural, thereby increasing its efficiency.

I'm not sure this would rationalize an army of Arnold Swarzeneggers, but it would rationalize being mobile and ready for the next step in training.


I think the problem here is framing.

You could artificially boost muscle growth and mass via in-utero hormones or by electro-stimulation or by using water resistance and kicking/punching. Lord knows every pregnant lady I've ever known has stories about 3 am dance parties...

But the real crux of the problem isn't Strength - it's control and dexterity. A Human child takes anywhere from 9 months to 18 months to Walk. Even assuming some additional Handwavium to make the Human Brain capable of walking straight away (like a Horse or Cow), I think the notion of they pop out of the Womb and go straight to the front-line is a little far-fetched.

The best solution then would be

After they are hatched in batches, they undergo a short Basic Training course

This would be similar to a boot-camp style course, but due to our in-utero conditioning, less focus on physical strength, but more on the basics.


You have bigger problem then muscle atrophy

You treats mind and body separately, while in reality they are interconnected. The brain develops together with the body, learning how to use it. A newborn can barely move its hands and legs, it takes a lot of time to develop neural pathways via constant feedback. This is why every child of intelligent species is playing. This is how you learn to use your body.

Change the frame

Instead of growing your bodies in the chambers, do something like in the movie "The Island". Build barracks where your soldiers would eat, sleep, train and learn. Learn the first generation to train the next generation, and the process will go on. You still profit from artificial baby incubation and accelerated growth, only that in less borgy way.

Consider one extra perk

If you accelerate physical growth, the human mind will be able to learn movements quickly enough. There are a lot of example of gifted kids being sportsmen etc. But their minds will be infantile. This is actually something you want. Children soldiers in Africa have proven to be more ruthless and fearless than the adults. The only problem were their smaller, weaker bodies. But it's the problem that you don't have.


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