In Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, natural means of reproduction are no longer necessary and most of the population is sterile. Why would the government choose to have some people remain fertile?

A possible reason I have speculated is that it could improve the economy through the purchasing and usage of contraceptives, but then why not make everyone fertile?

1 Answer 1


It's explained in the first chapter. Some women are left fertile so the state can take their ovaries and use the eggs to create the next generation.

Still leaning against the incubators he gave them, while the pencils scurried illegibly across the pages, a brief description of the modern fertilizing process; spoke first, of course, of its surgical introduction–"the operation undergone voluntarily for the good of Society, not to mention the fact that it carries a bonus amounting to six months' salary"; continued with some account of the technique for preserving the excised ovary alive and actively developing

It also mentions that a fairly high percentage of women are left fertile as insurance:

"For of course," said Mr. Foster, "in the vast majority of cases, fertility is merely a nuisance. One fertile ovary in twelve hundred–that would really be quite sufficient for our purposes. But we want to have a good choice. And of course one must always have an enormous margin of safety. So we allow as many as thirty per cent of the female embryos to develop normally.

For the same reason, some men would also need to be fertile, but in fact men don't seem be sterilised at all, and the contraception described is entirely up to the woman. Possibly a reflection of the times?

  • Welcome to the site! Nice first answer :-)
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Jan 16, 2019 at 8:05

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