Tuesday, August 23, 2011

No longer reproducing

I don't know what came to me, but one day I decided to watch Children of Men, a 2006 science-fiction film directed by Alfonso Cuarón.

The year is 2027. The biggest news on TV is that the world's youngest man from Colombia is dead. Word spreads fast; the scenes that follow are nothing short of apocalyptic. The human race is slowly dying. Women have not been giving birth for 18 years now. People don't know why: is it because of radiation or pollution or mutation? The world has long since changed, and even science is powerless.

There is chaos. The world is on the brink of collapse, and only a few nations, the United Kingdom included, is one of the few countries with some remnant of stability. Immigrants from all over the world want to get in; the UK government, now militarized, wants them out. The politics of immigration and the cold, hard reality of global infertility form the backdrop of the Children of Men.

But what if one discovers that someone—yes, a human being—is pregnant? This realization jolts Theo Faron (Clive Owen) out of his stupor. A former activist, he has long since abandoned his ideologies, after his wife (Julianne Moore) left him when their only child died during the flu pandemic.

So there Theo was, inside a farm barn, looking with incredulity at Kee (Clare-Hope Ashitey), a pregnant Fijian girl. It was a miracle materializing before his very eyes. Now he has to get her out of London and take her to the "Human Project," where a supposed group of scientists based in Azores is dedicated to curing infertility. To do that, everything must be kept in secret—from the government and from other political forces that only want to use Kee's child for their propaganda.

But the secret can hardly be contained. Especially with a baby crying. Suddenly the fighting stops. Everyone looks to the newborn; they even bow to it—a miracle indeed. A future may yet await the entire humankind.

What will happen if our women become infertile, when the human race no longer reproduces?

The first thing that comes to mind: Obstetrician-gynecologists and pediatricians will hardly have patients anymore.



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