Imagine that in the 1950's the birth control pill was never discovered...even to this day it eludes the scientific community.

During that time frame, the population continued to boom and rose at unsustainable levels for generations. The infrastructure has finally reached its limit, and something HAS to be done. PSAs have been pumped through the airwaves for years about not having more than 1 child, but no legislation could ever pass to mandate it...or enforce it.

Sprinkle in some Idiocracy lore about the less desirable sections of society reproducing at alarming rates compared to the higher educated/higher earning sections. The population is quickly becoming dumber on average.

The extremely high levels of uneducated citizens increases the crime and poverty rates. Governmental programs meant to help lower-income families are strapped for cash and regularly decrease benefits as there simply isn't enough money to cover everyone.

A biotech company reveals to the government that they have produced and tested a chip implant that will help relieve the current population growth rate. This chip has been set at a default to render the individual, whether male or female, infertile until two requirements have been reached:

  1. the patient is over the age of 25

  2. the patient has an IQ level of 100 (average)

The hope is that all newborn babies will have the chip implanted (unknown to the parents) to help stop the unsustainable population growth. While this does nothing to deal with the current levels of people, it could stop the problem from continuing. Another option is that every hospital ends up with a 'Man in Black' that visits every patient (of child bearing age or younger) undergoing surgery and implants the chip, there by further decreasing the chances of unnecessary reproduction.

Is there any current day tech that would allow something along those lines...or something that could be considered close enough that a little handwavium could cover the gap?


It has not been stated that the chip works by changing hormone levels. I was originally thinking of it emitting some low level radiation of some sort to interfere with the organs or contraception. The body is capable of repairing damage from some types of radiation, as long as the levels are not above a certain threshold. I left out how the chip could work at first hoping someone would come up with an even better idea, but everyone seems to be stuck in only 1 possible solution.

Getting a microchip to tell time, is not even remotely an issue...getting it to determine IQ...or some other level of intelligence...is the hard part.

  • $\begingroup$ Wouldn't the chip effectively be the equivalent of an anti baby pill? If they can make the chip have a reversible reproduction inhibiting effect, why can't they make the equivalent of anti baby pill? $\endgroup$ – Durandal Dec 20 '16 at 12:43
  • $\begingroup$ There would be less control with a pill. Anyone could just not take it, and bypass the effort completely. $\endgroup$ – Rdster Dec 20 '16 at 12:47
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    $\begingroup$ You are essentially describing the Norplant 5 year implanted contraceptive with a little RFID attachment so it can be externally affected. $\endgroup$ – Jason K Dec 20 '16 at 18:07
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    $\begingroup$ -1 for that useless, over-complicated, inhumane solution "It has not been stated that the chip works by changing hormone levels. I was originally thinking of it emitting some low level radiation of some sort to interfere with the organs or contraception." $\endgroup$ – MolbOrg Dec 22 '16 at 3:01
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    $\begingroup$ I found this and thought it might be of interest to the poster. Not for the amount of time needed and can't measure IQ: bbc.com/news/technology-28193720 $\endgroup$ – Erin Thursby Dec 23 '16 at 4:13

Yes, but it isn't a chip. The only fetal/infant anatomical structures present that you could affect to block fertility but not affect development are the fallopian tubes and the vas deferens. So surgeons implant gates into these tubes in infant girls and boys. These gates close off the tubes, preventing eggs from being fertilized by sperm (never the twain shall meet) and preventing sperm from getting into ejaculate fluid. There is a single use spring that can "lock" these gates open upon receiving a trigger of IQ or after 25ish years. Now fertilization can occur.

Hormonal development, menstruation, puberty, etc are all unaffected. A small percentage of these devices may cause a persistent inflammatory reaction or fail to open, but so long as 1 of the 2 do open, fertility is basically restored. No need to hormonally manipulate women to control ovulation or endometrial development.

  • $\begingroup$ This is probably the only viable means of dealing with it. Hormonal birth control can have nasty side effects in some women, you don't want to forcing it on everyone. I see no reason for it to be single-use, though--make it switchable. Presto---nearly foolproof birth control for both sexes, no children not wanted by both parents. $\endgroup$ – Loren Pechtel Dec 20 '16 at 23:40

You'd need more than a Microchip

For this microchip to be inserted and affect the hormones as you required would mean it'd have to be attached to the brain at a specific spot that regulates our reproductive hormones (which I'm not certain we know where that is yet) such that it lowers, but not removes them completely until the requirements are met since we need those hormones for growth.

It would be way easier to attach it to a device that secretes these hormones like the pill does but with a controlled release. This would probably need to be refilled like at their doctor's appointments that would likely need to be regulated, but this would be much more feasible and likely easier to hide than if you had to have brain surgery often if this device malfunctioned.

  • $\begingroup$ I never actually said that the chip affected hormones. Perhaps it could emit a low level of EM or other radiation that stopped the reproductive organ from producing eggs or sperm. It wouldn't have to be in the brain. $\endgroup$ – Rdster Dec 20 '16 at 17:41
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    $\begingroup$ @Rdster - It probably wouldn't stop the reproductive organ, just make the eggs or sperm mutate such that they're not viable (this happens naturally anyways but it's a small percentage instead of the whole). As well, it's just as likely to make them permanently sterile as it is to hinder overall reproduction. $\endgroup$ – rangerike1363 Dec 20 '16 at 17:51
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    $\begingroup$ In a society with rampant overpopulation, that might be an acceptable loss...to those making the decisions. $\endgroup$ – Rdster Dec 20 '16 at 18:02
  • $\begingroup$ @Rdster - That's something you'll have to decide, but either way you'll need more than a microchip as the EM output of even a high powered processor can't achieve that. Just to give you an idea, smartphones don't put enough radiation out to have any effect and those have high powered processors with radio antennas. $\endgroup$ – rangerike1363 Dec 22 '16 at 14:12

Firstly: This chip is pretty much exactly the same thing as the birth control pill, just a bit more permanent. Interfering with reproduction can either be achieved by hormonal control, physically blocking sperm from meeting egg or destroying the gametes that are used for reproduction. As this is a reversible process and the number of eggs available in women is limited this takes number two out of the way. As you want this to be controllable without removing the implant that takes number three out of the way (barring some rather major physiological changes that would have to be periodically updated as the child grows). That leaves you with hormonal interference.

Secondly: We've got a variety of similar things for women, and though few try to be specifically controllable it's not outside the realms of possibility to add a controllable element to them. They're also not necessarily designed to be undetected either, so you may have to figure a way around that.

Thirdly: You say that the chip works for both men and women. This is unlikely, given there are some fairly major chemical differences in the biology of reproduction for the two sexes. There's a lot of research now being done into forms of male sterility control (don't make me get into the history of why that's only being done now), but creating a 'universal fix' rather than two systems is unlikely.

Fourthly: Your control system seems fairly arbitrary. From the way you've described it either that company has a remote control unit (which is vulnerable to hacking/disruption attempts or detection) or they've managed to accurately pin down age and intelligence using nothing more than a biological sample. In the first case you need regularly administered IQ tests (which will make people suspicious) and in the second your biotech company has pretty much got the tech to make people who are never going to be good enough permanently sterile at birth, thus eliminating the need for any kind of implant.


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