Did the Machines in the Matrix use human women to have baby humans, or did they have some type of mechanical womb? It's clear, from the variety of humans we see in the film, that they kept some kind of genetic diversity, but was that intentional? Did the Machines have any kind of genetic planning in place to create humans who, if they were detached from the Matrix, would be more docile, or did they use random selection?

Since the Machines were keeping humans alive, they had to have some method of breeding more, but they couldn't just take humans out of their chambers and let them mate, so how did they do it? And once you get to that question, it seems only logical for the Machines to use genetic selection to create humans that would best suit the Machines' purpose.

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    Good catch. I never thought what would happen if father and son both existed the Matrix. If they look the same, then they have to share the same DNA! If Tank and Dozer had had jack ports, this question might have come up sooner.
    – HNL
    Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 10:45
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    Special double-sized goopods.
    – Jeff
    Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 20:34
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    Possible duplicate of Where Do Babies Come From (In the Matrix, That Is)? Commented Apr 5, 2019 at 11:15

4 Answers 4


Well, based on the fact that people in the Matrix perceived themselves pretty much as they appeared once unlinked, it was probably only random in the same way that people in real life have children.

Two people in the Matrix have a child. They expect the child to look like themselves. Even if the unlinked body wasn't theirs, the Matrix could probably reasonably fake the person's appearance within the Matrix. But it doesn't, since (IIRC) everyone we see who has been unlinked has the same physical features as when they were trapped in the simulation. No fakery was going on.

So based on that, the genetic diversity was because of who the humans chose while in the Matrix.

However, how the child was grown, I can't recall if it was ever touched on. Another possibility instead of artificial insemination or artificial womb is some sort of cloning where the two parents' DNA is mingled directly.

Please note that this answer may be invalidated based on the results of Did People Within The Matrix Always Resemble their Real World Bodies?

  • So the machines would have to detect a conception event within the Matrix and then extract DNA samples from the parents' pods and create an embryo. This would then go to the 'fields' for maturation. If the parents abort, so do the machines. Excellent answer, but eek on many levels! :)
    – HNL
    Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 10:49
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    @HNL Or, to avoid losing a "battery", the kid simulates death for the parents, while his simulated "self" gets put up for adoption as if he was abandoned.. (o_o)
    – Izkata
    Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 14:08
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    Why does this require actual genetic mixing? If the machines keep a large enough bank of human DNA profiles, they could just choose one of their millions or billions of DNA profiles that will look "close enough" (possibly even one that corresponds to some real world individual that was the real world child of one of the parents, where both DNA profiles were collected from long dead folks). No need for actual mixing, just keep making the same few million humans over and over. Commented Jan 16, 2020 at 22:51

Here's a strange possibility: They don't. Because the real world is another simulation. See the answer for supporting observations. If this is the case, it simplifies things greatly. It would mean that we would have no idea what people look like in the real real world -- they may look completely different from their residual self images.

It also explains why the Matrix would even bother with a residual self image that resembles the person's real physiology. It brings up the whole complication of reproduction this question asks about. Why would the machines bother about a person's appearance outside the Matrix if they don't expect him to exit the Matrix? Or survive after he exits.

A father and son that exists all layers of the Matrix may very well find that they're not genetically related at all. There may in fact be only a limited number of lines of humans. Many people may actually be clones of each other.

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    Ah, but do the machines know they're in another Matrix? </attempt to blow @TangoOversway's mind>
    – Izkata
    Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 13:37
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    The whole point of the Matrix is that it's an imperceptible reality simulation - it follows the laws of physics and biology and such (excepting the events of the movies, of course). If the real world is yet another simulation, it seems it too should follow those rules (especially given that there may exist machines who are unaware of the additional level(s) of Matrix). Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 14:04
  • +1 Wow, interesting answer! Maybe your race and sex within the simulation don't match the real ones. It's entirely possible there is a single genetic individual cloned multiple times. Neo = Trinity = Morpheus (except for their minds).
    – Andres F.
    Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 15:06
  • @AndresF. Neo=Trinity = Very Awkward Relationship! :)
    – HNL
    Commented Feb 21, 2012 at 6:23
  • Maybe there is no real world...
    – user11521
    Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 22:40

Upon first seeing the physical earth in the Matrix films, we are shown human farms where people are no longer born but grown. The humans are then placed in pods where body heat is derived as a source of energy. - From http://www.matrixmythology.com/

  • I think the question he's actually asking is, how come the genetic diversity in the real world exactly match the genetic diversity in the Matrix? See the first comment on the question above.
    – HNL
    Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 11:03

If the matrix controls everything within a simulation except the human mind, then the way humans perceived their residual self image would also be controlled. This might explain the matching images while in and out of the matrix if the simulation extends beyond the matrix as Izkata proposed. In this reality, Tank and Dozer are not natural born and neither are the rest of the human population.

If the humans are all clones, perhaps they are all genetic variations of only two humans that the machines deemed as exceptional and killed off the rest. These two were the Architect and the Oracle who were linked to the matrix in its infancy and became an indispensable part of the matrix design. Their genetic progeny took on their mental traits giving rise to Neo, Trinity, Morpheus, and the like. This may also explain the inherent nature of the Oracle, as a Mother, wants to protect the humans.

  • This seems like conjecture with no canon support. Commented Apr 2, 2014 at 3:25

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