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I recently re-watched the movies. Afterward, I sat and mused on various aspects that I had come across. Things I had been unware of the first few times.

One of these things was whether the "grown" humans in the series retained the ability to have children; the answer would, I think, provide an interesting insight into the worldview of those born so. Also how they would view themselves alongside the "naturals", those who were born naturally in Zion.

Could anyone help shed some light on this, please?

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Logically, there would be no reason to sterilize the 'grown' humans, as they aren't able to breed while isolated in pods. In Matrix 1 we see humans being grown from embryos in the harvester fields, which implies that the grown human females don't have their bodies used for gestation, so someone who was freed from the Matrix after experiencing pregnancy and childbirth within it may find themselves in a body that had not, in fact, ever been pregnant; however, this would not prevent them from becoming so using natural methods.

The other evidence point supporting non-sterilization of grown humans is that the Architect specified that new populations of Zion were seeded by grown humans from the Matrix. If those people were unable to reproduce naturally, there would be no Zion and thus, no Matrix rebooting protocol.

It is mentioned that Neo is unusually old to be successfully freed from the Matrix. This suggests that the scenario described above, of a woman being freed after having experienced virtual childbirth, would be unusual (but not impossible if she were freed in, say, her early to mid-teens). Now, this is interesting because the structure of the Matrix dictates that everyone experiences it from birth onward, so an infant, once harvested, would have to have been assigned to a woman who had experienced a virtual pregnancy. Therefore, the woman's 'child' could still be plugged into the Matrix after she was freed.

This highlights one of the more poignant issues that the movies never addressed: freeing someone from the Matrix leaves a person knowing that all the people they have loved - parents, children, siblings, friends - are still trapped in the Matrix. It would be only human for those people to want to visit their loved ones when entering the Matrix, and to work to free those who are young enough to bear the transition. But since the machines are capable of overwriting any consciousness in the Matrix with Agents, it would be exceedingly dangerous to draw their attention. I shall leave further speculation on the emotional ramifications to the reader.

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  • Very thought provoking. +1! Jun 25 '13 at 17:57
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    Given that people outside Matrix looks like their avatars it is likely that pod-grown humans have the gene seeded from virtual parents to get the matching fenotypes/genotypes. Jun 26 '13 at 11:58
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    issues that the movies never addressed disagree. From a certain point of view. Cypher was originally meant to want to go back to the Matrix because his loved one (girlfriend?) was still inside. It's in the earlier scripts if I remember well. Even in the final version this is a quite possible past for him, and his feelings for Trinity could be just his next failed attempt to find solution. Also, Trinity (supposedly) liking to watch Neo has a very similar emotional charge, and their romance is of central importance to the movie and the plot.
    – n611x007
    Jun 26 '13 at 18:16
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Since all of the initial residents of Zion were themselves pod-grown, I think the answer has to be, "no, they're not sterile", since we've seen that they have children.

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    (in Jeff Goldblum voice): uh, life, uh... finds a way. Jun 26 '13 at 2:08
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Since I’m pretty surprised this question doesn’t have a sourced answer yet: Yes, people freed from the Matrix can have children.

We know from The Matrix that children are born in Zion.

Neo: You don’t…you don’t have any…

Tank: Holes? Nope. Me and my brother Dozer, we’re both one hundred percent pure, old fashioned, home-grown human, born free right here in the real world. Genuine child of Zion.

And we know from The Matrix Reloaded that ALL the founders of Zion were originally in the Matrix.

Architect: The function of the One is now to return to the Source, allowing a temporary dissemination of the code you carry, reinserting the prime program. After which, you will be required to select from the Matrix 23 individuals – 16 female, 7 male – to rebuild Zion.

So there was never any residents of the current iteration of Zion who weren’t either connected the Matrix at some point or descended from those who were. Therefore, it must be the case that pod-grown humans are not sterile.

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Neo, "The One", is responsible for rebuilding humans after a wipeout.

http://matrix.wikia.com/wiki/Neo

Neo is then ultimately presented with a choice: there are two doors; the door on the right leads to the Source, where he would select 23 individuals (16 females and 7 males) who would rebuild Zion after its destruction, with him reinserting his Prime Program to the Machine Mainframe and rebooting the Matrix

There are many Operators born outside of the Matrix. Tank and Link as mentioned in the article are the two that come immediately to mind, for me.

Since "Humanity" has been wiped out on at-least 5 occasions (Neo had '5 predecessors'... and you could probably count the previous iterations of the matrix as at least 6), the only explanation for natural born humans is that pod-people can bear children since individuals like Tank had to have been born from pod-people.

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