Meet the ‘elite’ couples breeding to save mankind

With global birth rates in free fall, Silicon Valley’s ‘pronatalists’ are aiming to halt the decline – by having as many babies as possible

Babu, who hopes to join or create a pronatalist organisation in the UK, says it is still ‘niche’ here but gaining ground on both the ‘swashbuckling intellectual Right’ and the more family-focused and Blue-Labour-tinged segments of the Left

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At the beginning of March, Aria Babu quit her job at a think tank to dedicate herself to something most people have never heard of.

‘It became clear to me that people wanted more children than they were having,’ Babu says. ‘Considering this is such a massive part of people’s lives, the fact that they were not able to fulfil this want was clearly indicative that something was wrong.’

The new focus of Babu’s career is a philosophy known as pronatalism, literally meaning pro-birth. Its core tenet is deceptively simple: our future depends on having enough children, and yet life in developed countries has become hostile to this basic biological imperative. Linked to the subcultures of rationalism and ‘effective altruism’ (EA), and bolstered by declining birth rates, it has been gaining currency in Silicon Valley and the wider tech industry – especially its more conservative corners.

‘I’ve been in various text threads with technology entrepreneurs who share that view… there are really smart people that have real concern around this,’ says Ben Lamm, a Texas biotech entrepreneur whose company Colossal is developing artificial wombs and other reproductive tech (or ‘reprotech’) that could boost future fertility.

‘We are quite familiar with the pronatalist movement and are supporters of it,’ says Jake Kozloski, the Miami-based co-founder of an AI matchmaking service called Keeper, which aims to address the ‘fertility crisis fueled by a marriage crisis’ by helping clients find the other parent of their future children.

‘I encourage people who are responsible and smart and conscientious to have children, because they’re going to make the future better,’ says Diana Fleischman, a pronatalist psychology professor at the University of New Mexico and consultant for an embryo-selection start-up (she is currently pregnant with her second child).

Easily the most famous person to espouse pronatalist ideas is Elon Musk, the galaxy’s richest human being, who has had 10 children with three different women. ‘If people don’t have more children, civilisation is cute girl San juan going to crumble. Mark my words,’ Musk told a business summit in . He has described population collapse as ‘the biggest danger’ to humanity (exceeding climate change) and warned that Japan, which has one of the lowest birth rates in the world, ‘will eventually cease to exist’.

Having worked in public policy for several years, the 26-year-old Londoner had come to an alarming realisation about the future of the UK, the world – and the human species

In an Insider article last November that helped bring the movement to wider attention, 23andMe co-founder Linda Avey acknowledged its influence on the Texan tech scene, while the managing director of an exclusive retreat, Dialog, co-founded by arch-conservative investor and PayPal pioneer Peter Thiel, said population decline was a frequent topic there.

At the centre of it all are Simone and Malcolm Collins, two 30-something American entrepreneurs turned philosophers – and parents – who say they are only the most outspoken proponents of a belief that many prefer to keep private. In 2021 they founded a ‘non-denominational’ campaign group called , under the umbrella of their non-profit Pragmatist Foundation. Buoyed by a $482,000 (?385,000) donation from Jaan Tallinn, an Estonian tech billionaire who funds many rationalist and EA organisations, it is now lobbying governments, meeting business leaders, and seeking partnerships with reprotech companies and fertility clinics.