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  1. Ettina

    Ettina Active Member

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    Sperm bank in a zombie apocalypse

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Ettina, Dec 6, 2016.

    I'm tossing around a story idea I had. Basically, there's a zombie apocalypse, and for several years small scattered groups of survivors are struggling and hiding. But the zombies slowly decay, and eventually die. And since most of the human population became zombies all at the same time, they all die at the same time, too.
    The main characters were at a fertility clinic (a mix of clients, donors and workers) when the zombies first attacked, and they managed to get the place fortified and safe. The clinic had an uninterruptible power supply capable of keeping the freezers running for a week without power.
    During that time, they realize this isn't going to blow over quickly, and most of humanity is gone. So someone decides that they should do whatever they can to keep the freezers running and preserve the genetic diversity stored within them, because if humanity will ever recover, they'll need to counter the effects of inbreeding.
    They succeed in keeping the power on throughout the apocalypse, and when nearly all the zombies drop dead, they decide to send out a van with sperm to scout out for people and try to convince as many women as possible to have babies conceived by sperm donors.
    I have two big questions.
    First, how will they keep the power on? Anyone know what a medical grade UPS needs, and where you'd scavenge it in a zombie infested city? I'm thinking eventually they'd set up solar panels and possibly wind power, but would that be enough?
    Second, what are some of the reactions they're likely to get once they're on the road? Both positive and negative.
     
  2. Wreybies

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I have no idea what the power needs of such a facility are, but I would imagine that even prior to the Z.A. such a facility would have backup generators. Power outages happen in the normal world.

    As to reactions.... My reaction, were you to ask me to do this (I'm not a female, just so you know) is: Are you crazy? I mean, yeah, I understand and I get what you're doing and maybe once food and shelter and these roving bands of feral, non-zombie humans are dealt with, maybe then I can think about helping repopulate the planet, but now? No. Got any bread? No, not money, I mean actual bread. My ass is hungry.
     
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  3. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    So you've got a sperm donor facility with, let's assume, back-up generators. They're going to run out of fuel PDQ. Can you scavenge for more, with the planet overrun by zombies? Even if you can, the supplies that aren't in your neighbourhood at the time of the attack will run out PDQ, too. Going solar power? Unless you've already got the panels on the premises, you won't be getting any more (the solar panel shop is overrun by zombies), and they're not the sort of tech that Spock can just cobble together from an old toaster and a mobile phone (well, maybe Spock might, but you haven't got Spock to hand!)

    As far as the repopulation goes, my reaction was pretty much identical to @Wreybies , right down to not being female.

    However, I see a more basic issue...which is that unless your sperm donor facility is pretty tiny, you'll have more than enough genetic diversity to avoid the perils of inbreeding, so the sperm bank won't be a material advantage - unless it's a VERY (a la Hapsburgs) family-run business. Looking around the place where I work, there's plenty of genetic diversity; bigger problem would be that it's very heavily slanted towards males (it's engineering, not the most popular career choice for women.)
     
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  4. Scot

    Scot Contributing Member

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    "Yeah. I got some bread. Shag me and I'll throw this test tube away and share my bread with you."
     
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  5. Wreybies

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Scot, you know I bat for the other team, right? If you're fit enough, I'll take you up on that offer. Pickins' have been slim since the Z.A. You still offering? :whistle: :-D
     
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  6. Scot

    Scot Contributing Member

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    Sorry. Have to decline. I'm straighter than a straight thing running in a straight line. :cool:
     
  7. Wreybies

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    :supergrin:
     
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  8. big soft moose

    big soft moose Contributing Member

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    I tend to think that survivors of a zombie apocaplypse will have more imediate concerns like food , clean water, and shelter from disease , and that breeding would only really be viable where a woman was in a stable community that had answered those needs (in which case there'd probably be men around to so there'd be no need to use the sperm)
     
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  9. Lemie

    Lemie Member

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    I think the idea is unique, so you got that going for you!

    Otherwise. The idea is part hilarious, part stupid and part terrifying.

    As a woman I wouldn't want to take any part in re-populating the world. I would rather off myself than have a kid NOW. Imagine a time when people barley surviving the day, without food and shelter. I'd go join the zombies!

    For those who have enough food and for some reason don't think it's time for the human race to give up - I think they'd go for the old fashion way of getting pregnant. THOUGH, all surviving men could for some reason have become infertile. That would explain people going around in a sperm-mobile, I guess.
     
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  10. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributing Member

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    Refrigeration isn't easy, it takes a huge amount of power. You'd have to find a large array of solar panels, because you'd certainly run out of fossil fuels quickly (the CDC did in The Walking Dead.)

    I don't think you'll find many women willing to be pregnant at the time. The daily struggle of food, water and shelter would be enough I think. Also, how will they defend themselves? They obviously have food, water, and power. That's a huge target in the apocalypse. If I thought it was poorly defended, I'd certainly attack it and kill them all for those resources. Remember in a zombie apocalypse, the zombie are only the immediate danger, the long term danger is the other people.
     
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  11. big soft moose

    big soft moose Contributing Member

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    I'd have though diesel generators are the answer - and armed foraging parties to bring back tankers of diesel (or truckloads of drums). Or you make it a govt research facility and give its own nuclear reactor - which is how Axler and co dealt with the need for the redoubts to be powered in the deathlands books
     
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  12. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's fine until the oil wells stop pumping.

    It's a storage facility, with medical overtones...just how militant are these guys? I'm getting worried about running into one of their salespeople now! And, by now, I mean today.

    That could work...but why would anywhere have a nuclear reactor as a back-up generator? Or - the alternative of it being its only/main source - have a sufficiently high need for its power to be independent of the national grid?
     
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  13. Lifeline

    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Contributor

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    As a woman I reserve the right to have two opinions:

    - Give me a place in a stable community, and I DO mean stable, with security, food, shelter and medicinal care. Make me a valuable member of YOUR community and I'll give it a go. Yes, you have the right idea. But, just to be clear, it doesn't mean that I will not pick out a husband for myself, for the second child.
    - Are you completely nuts? Humans just were responsible for the biggest mess on the planet and I should now try to revive the human race?? Nope boy. The planet is better off without us. And if you don't get out of my way there will quickly be one less.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2016
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  14. big soft moose

    big soft moose Contributing Member

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    After a zombie apocalypse I'd expect there to be more fuel than you'd need in a lifetime just sitting arround for the taking - after all you've got to figure a really reduced population of normals

    and ref the weaponry - the first thing i'd do as soon as a zombie apocalypse happened was loot my neighborhood gun store and get tooled up ( also once it was over there'd be all those army bases sitting their empty with some serious hardware for the taking)
     
  15. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributing Member

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    Are you talking about the type of apocalypse where maybe one out of a million people live? I find it more likely that it'll be one out of a thousand or less. That's still a lot of competition for non renewable resources and a lot of people willing to kill for them.

    If I just brought my family on a dangerous mission to raid a gun shop, and we're starving and poorly armed, I'll make sure I secure those supplies by any means necessary. If you happen to be in that path, there would be three possible outcomes: you run away, I kill you, you kill me. Me running or us sharing would likely not be something I'd consider. I think it would take several years for any sort of sustainability so you gotta make it through those first few by being ruthless. Gas will go fast because trucks are the easiest way to transport supplies.

    Most people would need to learn how to grow food, most would do it by trial and error so each winter you'd have huge swatches of the remaining population willing to go to war with the communities that do have food. I think maybe after five seasons most would have growing down well enough.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2016
  16. big soft moose

    big soft moose Contributing Member

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    This is true - but if i'm part of a team of people who have already survived so far and are thus relatively well armed and organised (possibly by way of us having come from a govt research facility where there were armed guards and stockpiled weaponry) - your options would be to join us (if we want you to) , to die fighting impossible odds or to run away - most intelligent people would take the first one.

    That said if I was with a team of survivors my inclination would be to get away from the urban area, comandeer a farm and prepare to defend it against all comers whilst also stockpiling supplies (kind of like Day of the Triffids) ... I wouldn't be inclined to worry about preserving sperm or repopulating the planet.
     
  17. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Most of that fuel wouldn't be available. Either it's in an underground tank at a fuel station, but no power to pump it to ground level, or it's in a car already and you've got a lot of syphoning fuel out of tanks to set about...especially with zombies everywhere.
    Yeah, we don't have neighbourhood gun stores here in the UK, my bad!

    Let's run some numbers...one in a million surviving means 60 people in the UK, 300 in the US...one in a thousand means 60,000 and 300,000...just about enough for a small city between us! In 1500, on the road to recovery from the plague, there were around 4 million in the British Isles, with a very agricultural economy. The area of the UK is 243,610 sq km. = 4 sq km per person. The US is 9,834,000 sq km = 33 sq km (that's an area 5 miles by 3) per person.

    Basically, even at one in a thousand survival, your first problem in killing off your competition for resources is to find them.
     
  18. big soft moose

    big soft moose Contributing Member

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    I'm in the Uk too and there are two guns in my house (we're on a farm) and a shop just down the road where i could pick up more - admittedly you can't just go and pick up a pistol or an automatic weapon like you probably could in the states - but a .243 rifle and a 12 bore double will still make a royal mess of anyone who gets on the wrong end . (theres also a royal marine commando base about 10 miles away - where after an apocalypse you could probably pick up some more serious weaponry)

    If you read John Wyndhams day of the triffids this is how they start out - first he picks up a 12 bore from a sporting goods shop (shotguns being better against triffids than a sngle bullet) then later on as they are getting organised they pick up flame throwers and mortars etc from a defunct army base
     
  19. tonguetied

    tonguetied Contributing Member Contributor

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    Not to get off the survival aspect so much but I think the OP has to work up a logical reason for a sperm bank to be a good plot point. Maybe as someone else suggested all the males are infertile now or maybe there is a thought of genetically developing a superior race out of this "special" sperm bank, etc. If you have a good reason for breeding with sperm bank stock you could adjust the apocalypse situation to allow for more likely ways for mankind to survive in general, more like a pandemic and only about 30% of the population is wiped out for example.
     
  20. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Now the problem I have with males becoming infertile, putting the sperm bank at a premium, is...how do they know in time to waste resources keeping the refrigeration running? Surely, it's only going to be once nobody's conceived in a very long time - and if survival really is that tough, they're not even going to be trying for a very long time before that - that the penny's going to drop? By which time the sperm will be well past its shelf life.
     
  21. big soft moose

    big soft moose Contributing Member

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    May be the disease starts in africa so america/uk has the time to see the results of the disease and plan for survival ... that would also explain having stockpiles of fue and arms
     
  22. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributing Member

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    I don't think you could extrapolate that way. Population centers would have much higher mortality rates and rural Kansas would have much lower.
     
  23. Ettina

    Ettina Active Member

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    I don't get why people think that you'd needsome kind of infertility thing to make the sperm bank important. I don't care if you're in a diverse community - if 99% of humans are dead, that diversity won't take you very far. Within a couple generations there'll be inbreeding going on. The sperm bank has genetic material from people who died, and therefore will add more diversity. Plus they're also going to be trying to get donors during their trip, and give their sperm to people who live a good distance away.

    I also forgot to mention that I was actually planning for them to include a "you can join our group and get looked after by us if you are willing to get pregnant".
     
  24. PenelopeWillow

    PenelopeWillow Member

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    I think that depending on how this plot is executed you could have something here. Is it strange? Maybe! But some of the best things in life are strange.

    I did a little research and did you know they have solar powered refrigerators?

    Solar is the way of the future.....
     
  25. PenelopeWillow

    PenelopeWillow Member

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    Also, I just realized you brought that up in your last few sentences. This hard cider is really kicking in.
     

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