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The title might not be perfect, but the idea is there.

How long does it take Eldar children to be born?

Reading the new eldar codex:

every year there are fewer of their number to take up arms against their enemies

This got me to thinking, why don't the Eldar just make babies all year round, constantly? Wouldn't this seem like a good plan

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    Ah yes, the lesser known Eldar Path, the Path of the Stay-at-home Mom.
    – Theik
    Apr 28 '15 at 12:37
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    lol its a full time job i've been told! Apr 29 '15 at 13:49
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    In addition to the problem of actually make a baby, Exodite Eldars and Craftworld Eldars face the problem of producing new SoulStones. I don't know how difficult it is to create SoulStones, but it could be a limiting factor.
    – Taladris
    May 6 '15 at 12:47
  • They harvest the soul stones from the crone worlds. The planets in the Eye of terror. Normally its the harlequins who go and get them, but DE also do. Mar 29 '17 at 12:27
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    I've also heard claims that since the rise of slaanesh eldar fertility has been reduced because: 1.Isha (their literal god of fertility) is busy being locked up in nurgles garden and 2. the eldar must do everything they can do avoid falling to slaanesh this is quite hard when banging someone (repeatedly mind since eldar need to be fertilized repeatedly). however both of these fall more into fan theory territory so salt readily. also you may joke about the path of the stay-at-home mum but the path of the fastfood chef is a thing so you never know what kind of xenos madness goes on in craftworld
    – Ummdustry
    Mar 5 '18 at 18:22
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The gestation cycle of the Eldar is much longer than other races

As stated by the Lexicanum page for the Eldar there is fairly little known about the reproduction between Eldar. However it does state that they do reproduce in several stages.

However in the 7th edition Codex of the Dark Eldar this is noted:

The Eldar gestation cycle is much longer than that of many of the lesser races, and conventionally born children are rare symbols of status. Artificially grown Dark Eldar are far more commonplace.

Which says that it takes much longer for an Eldar child to be born than most other races and presumably also humans, so most likely a fair bit more than a year in contrast to a human's 9 months. And with the Eldar's very strict rules and other things like the Spirit Stones, it makes it quite a long and difficult process for a new Eldar Child to be born. I also don't think that the Craftworld Eldar grow their own children like the Haemonculi of the Dark Eldar do. at least I haven't found any evidence of it.

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Sadly, it is not much known about Eldar biology, bu it is not the gestation period that would be the problem, but getting pregnant in the first place:

To successfully conceive, woman requires not one, but several sexual intercourse, probably in quite specific moments of her ovulation cycle - this makes accidental pregnancies near impossible but, funny enough, suggests that Eldars can have multiple fathers.

Well "whats the problem with trying all the time then?" you could ask? There is one: Slaneesh or, as Eldars know him "She Who Thirsts". Every time Eldars get too... excited, they risk seriously bringing attention of the Chaos god and losing their souls. That's why Craftword Eldars choose to follow Paths, that teach them to master their emotions: Path of the Artist will teach them how to express themselves, Path of the Warrior how to deal with anger, Path of the Servant - how to be ready for self-sacrifice. Maybe following the last one mentioned, Eldar can learn how to be parents, but then they don't change Paths on a whim and tend to stay for many, many years (sometimes forever) on a same one.

On top of that there is the obvious issue with longevity: long life means long childhood and even longer period of restless youth - in "The Eldar Path" book a 45 year old woman says that she is too young to even start thinking about sex and relationship (but then she might be lying to her "friendzoned" companion)

Of course Eldars could start cloning, but besides the moral issues it would bring more problems than gains: Who would rise those kids and put them on the right Path? How twisted could they possibly be without the mother guiding psychic influence during pregnancy? Would there be enough of the precious Spirit Stones to give to those children to protect them?

Since Dark Eldars have no such issues (since they are constantly replenish their souls preying on others), they basically mass produce their children: Haemonculi - a horrific Flesh Sculptors perfected ways of controlling reproduction and produce adults (since childhood is a waste) in their hundreds. The catch? They let their offspring loose on the streets, when they die in dozens over the first few hours, unable to control their emotions or simply killed for fun. Those smart enough that survive this culling are later accepted into society.

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I read this as meaning that there is a growing rise in the percentage of Eldar who are becoming sterile through either diseases, genetic degradation or simple ennui at the universe.

"make babies all year round" This alone makes me wonder at the age of the questioner, or at least their understanding of biology in general.

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    heh, pretty sure "all year round" is a saying... Its not meant to be taken literally May 15 '15 at 14:57
  • I meant the "make babies" bit sounded a little juvenil, rather than that part of it. Mind you, it is barely possible that Eldar might have 'seasons' like non-sentient animals do as well - Robert Sawyer had his Neanderthals in "Humanoids" have something similar. Mar 22 '17 at 21:48
  • I believe that eldar grow babies in test tubes, so they really are "making" them ;) Mar 29 '17 at 12:26
  • @JamieHutber Dark Eldars do that often, but even among them they have naturally carried and delivered children - it is a status symbol to be born in a natural way, since it shows that the mother was powerful enough to be protected when she was more vulnerable
    – Yasskier
    Apr 28 at 20:28

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