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Law of Inverse Fertility

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The fertility of a couple is inversely proportional to their desire and/or perceived ability to have a child.

The Rule of Drama, as applied to parenthood. Couples who want to have children will have trouble not only conceiving but adopting and using surrogates as well. People who don't want children, however, will be faced with unwanted pregnancies even if they used birth control, particularly if the conception was forced upon them. In fact, the page image leaves out rape, which is about 200% (that's right, you'll probably have twins). Teenagers, of course, will get pregnant their first time, double points if they thought they couldn't. The reason for this, of course, is obvious: "woman becomes pregnant with longed-for child immediately" and "woman doesn't want to get pregnant and doesn't" don't exactly make the most thrilling plotlines. At least the woman with a baby she doesn't want can give it up to the woman who is desperate to conceive—but, expect much angst along the way.

If it's the man who was reliably told he was infertile, expect Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe to rear its head; to maximize the drama, usually the woman knows he's the father.

In many cases the stress of trying to have a baby will suppress fertility, and, once the couple decides to adopt or give up, the stress disappears, and: hooplah! They have a baby! Sometimes it's after they went through the hassle of adopting, as if Mother Nature felt humorous one day.

Conversely, if an unexpectedly expecting woman starts warming up to the idea of being a mother, her chances of a Convenient Miscarriage or Tragic Stillbirth double. Or it'll turn out that she was never pregnant in the first place. This particular trick is common on shows where Status Quo Is God and having a baby would spoil everything; whether the former or latter version is used depends on how much drama the writers wish to evoke. Even that much is assuming they let things get that far; some kind of pre-existing condition getting in the way of conception can be milked for Angst as much as they want.

If, against the odds, a couple who genuinely want a baby manage to get pregnant without complications, don't expect both parents to live to see it.

One limited case where a woman who wants to get pregnant can do so — after one night, even — is if she is sneaking into the man's bed with a Bed Trick because she is his wife. This may be because the man does not want her to become pregnant; it is often the condition he set on accepting her as his wife.

This trope is very old; involuntary infertility is found in the opening of a number of Fairy Tales before the birth of the main character, and just about required for the Wonder Child. Note that this law gets revoked during the Dénouement for Babies Ever After. In The Bible, the fertility of the couple is inversely proportionate to the eventual significance of the child to God's Big Plan.

Compare Law of Inverse Paternity and One-Night-Stand Pregnancy. Distinct from (though an accurate statement of) the Immortal Procreation Clause.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Berserk: Being career mercenaries, parenthood was probably the last thing on Guts and Casca's minds when they finally consummated their relationship. And it only took their first time to get knocked up. Alas, things do not end well for them or their child because of the Eclipse and what Griffith does to Casca in particular.
  • The Dragon Ball franchise has an uneven history with this trope. Trunks was apparently the result of a one-night stand between Bulma and Vegeta. And given the amount of time Goku spends either dead, traveling through space, training in the wilderness, or bedridden with a killer virus between and during the Freeza and Android / Cell sagas, it's amazing that he and Chichi ever found time to conceive Goten.
    • Word of God is that Goten was conceived in the ten-day span between the announcement of the Cell Games and Goku's second death. Though whether this was planned or not is never stated. It was probably just an off-screen Pre-Climax Climax.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Izumi and Sig tried desperately to have a child, and when Izumi finally became pregnant the child was stillborn. She was then convinced that she killed her child a second time when she attempted to transmute the child to life, though thankfully this was eventually shown to not be the case. For this, her "divine punishment" from the Truth was to lose her uterus along with a few other organs, effectively making her infertile there on out and giving her a nasty mixture of Incurable Cough of Death plus Blood from the Mouth which either kills her in the end (2003 anime) or is sorta healed by Ed and Al's father (manga and second anime).
  • Reuenthal bemoans this trope in Legend of the Galactic Heroes; while his friend Mittermeyer and his wife have failed to produce any children despite years of trying, Reuenthal's short fling with a woman who hates him immediately produces a son, despite Reuenthal's desire never to have children.
  • Ōoku: The Inner Chambers: After a year of trying to conceive an heir, the Reverend Kasuga dismisses Arikoto as Iemitsu's concubine to try with a new man. This distresses both Arikoto and Iemitsu, who by then have fallen in love, and vow to be Together in Death, especially once it becomes clear that Iemitsu is barren (a belief she has due to being raped and having her first child so young). Then she conceives Ietsuna with the new concubine, proving Arikoto was the infertile one all along.
  • In the H-OVA Alternate Continuity of Tokubetsu Byoutou The head doctor has trouble having a child despite wanting one to continue her legacy. Complicating matters is that she is a true hermaphrodite and thus her body has never gone through menses and produces sperm of low-quality and low in quantity. She is able to eventually subvert the trope through medicine she created.
  • Barely subverted by Issei's parents in High School Dx D as while they do conceive twice before Issei they aren't able to bring it to term due to Miki's poor constitution. They are told that it is quite possible that they would never be able to have a child only for Issei to be born.
  • Requiem of the Rose King: Both sides of this trope appear, and from the same person, to boot. Richard tries and fails to conceive a child with Anne, as his intersex anatomy has made him infertile. It's during his affair with Buckingham, a relationship that had no childbearing in mind at all, that a pregnancy occurs — namely, to him, as his female parts turn out to be in working order.
  • This is detailed extensively in the autobiographical manga I Don't Know How to Give Birth where the author and her husband find themselves incapable of conceiving the old-fashioned way despite their best efforts and multiple visits to a gynecologist. After a year and a half of failure, they opt for IVF, which ultimately proves to be a lot more successful.

  • In the Child Ballad Tam Lin, Fair Janet becomes pregnant after her first meeting with Tam Lin. This raises the spectre of an Arranged Marriage to ensure that the baby is born in wedlock and has her resorting to some desperate measures to ensure the right father marries her.
    Out then spak her father dear,
    And he spak meek and mild;
    "And ever alas, sweet Janet," he says,
    "I think thou gaes wi child."
  • Something similar happens in the Back Story of Gil Brenton.

    Comic Books 
  • When the Vision and the Scarlet Witch fell in love and married, they desperately wanted a child together despite the literal impossibility of that because the Vision is an android. Yet in the face of pretty much 0% odds, the Scarlet Witch was so determined to make this happen that she was able to use magic and Mephisto's soul fragments (though she didn't know it at the time) to impregnate herself with twin sons that... were also 'equally Vision's' somehow. This appears to be a subversion of this trope in the face of all logic, but then the Trauma Conga Line ensues... only to wind right back to subverting it again when the Scarlet Witch gets her twin sons back again, via reincarnation.
  • In the Green Arrow miniseries The Longbow Hunters, Ollie tells Dinah he'd like to get married and have children. She says no because their lives are too dangerous. A few years later she changes her which point they're informed that due to damage she had sustained during Longbow Hunters, she's not physically capable of having kids anymore.
  • In the Salvation arc of Preacher, Toby and never-seen girlfriend Turleen aren't even thinking of having a baby (or much else, for that matter) when he tells Jodie that he thought she was pregnant because she'd missed her period. They're not worried, because it happened once before, last month. God, these two are such idiots.
  • In Runaways, Victor learns that his mother wanted a child but was infertile and unable to adopt because of her past as a drug mule. She was so desperate that she ended up letting Ultron build Victor as a half robot/half human with her supplying the human genetic material.
  • Spider-Man's Aunt May had a miscarriage that left her infertile. She and Uncle Ben were more than happy to adopt Peter when his parents died, and at least one story mentions that Ben and May are his godparents, so Child Services automatically placed him with them.
  • Superman:
    • Ma and Pa Kent wanted a child but weren't able to have one before baby Kal-El landed in their backyard.
    • Post-Crisis stories like Last Son established Clark Kent and Lois Lane could not have children. Nonetheless, during Convergence, Lois gets pregnant with his child. This was only possible because the dome they were trapped under shut off all superpowers, thus depowering Clark.
  • In Y: The Last Man, the (literal) last man on Earth manages to have sex exactly twice (in one night, with the same woman) in the years directly following the plague that killed all the other men. Nine months later, guess who's the last father on Earth?
  • Ultimate Wolverine: In the Ultimate Marvel universe, Wolverine and Magda had sex after meeting again, and of course, she got pregnant with that single intercourse.

    Comic Strips 
  • For Better or for Worse: Elly is absolutely horrified when she finds herself pregnant with April at 39. Connie reveals she's jealous because she and Greg had been trying for a baby with no luck, while April was an 'accident'.

    Fairy Tales 
  • "The Devil With the Three Golden Hairs": The miller and his wife are happy to adopt the abandoned baby who they found since they had been unable to have a child.
  • "The Juniper Tree": The main character's parents longed for a child but they could not have one until one winter day under the juniper tree, the woman cut her finger and wished for a child.
  • "Momotarō": The childless couple is given one child.
  • "Rapunzel"
  • "Sleeping Beauty", both The Brothers Grimm's and Charles Perrault's:
    A long time ago there were a King and Queen who said every day, "Ah, if only we had a child!" but they never had one. But it happened that once when the Queen was bathing, a frog crept out of the water on to the land, and said to her, "Your wish shall be fulfilled; before a year has gone by, you shall have a daughter."
  • In "Tatterhood", the queen is so eager to have a child, she neglects to follow the magical directions to get them.
  • "Prince Lindworm": The King and the Queen were unable to have children until the woman followed a kind witch's advice. Unfortunately, the Queen disregarded the fact that she was warned about following the witch's instructions exactly, and one of her children was born as a snake-like dragon.
  • Franz Xaver von Schönwerth's "Nine Bags Of Gold": Both Hans and his brother Michael want to have male children so they can pass their father's two mills on their heirs. However, Michael's wife is too sick to bear children, and Hans' wife has a single, female baby.
  • See also Wonder Child.
  • One fairy tale type — include the Gypsy "The Tailor's Clever Daughter" — has a man refuse to sleep with his bride. Her solution is to slip from the prison where he keeps her and trick him into sleeping with her as a different woman, three times. Getting pregnant each time, often after one night.

    Films — Animated 
  • Hercules: Amphitryon and Alcmene have begged the gods for years to bless them with a child, and they see Herc as the answer to that prayer.
  • In Klaus, the title character and his wife, Lydia, wanted lots of kids, and he started his toymaking hobby in anticipation of their arrival. Years passed, but Lydia never got pregnant before she died. Since this is an Origin Story for Santa Claus, you can probably figure out what he eventually does with the toys.
  • Mentioned in the opening narration of Sleeping Beauty, as King Stefan and his queen longed for many years to have a child. The wish was finally granted, but they only were able to keep Aurora for a very short time before they had to surrender her to the good fairies (to protect her from Maleficent), and so they effectively remained childless anyway.
  • Up: Subtly implied in the opening montage: a brief shot of Carl and Ellie in a doctor's office. There's a picture of a baby on the wall so presumably, it's her OB-GYN. Ellie is crying. It's especially heartbreaking since the buildup has Carl and Ellie making up a room for the baby. Word of God says it was a miscarriage that left Ellie unable to have more children. What we see is what little they could actually show/feel comfortable putting in a movie for their young target audience.

  • Played with in The Decemberists' The Hazards Of Love concept album. The Rake, who really doesn't want kids, got four, although one died in childbirth. Subverted with the Star-Crossed Lovers William and Margaret, who, also in accordance with the trope, seem to conceive very quickly. Although it's kind of a problem, they're extremely happy about it. Too bad they die before the baby is born.
  • In Heather Dale's song "Changeling Child", a couple wants a child for twelve years, but the wife cannot have one. Driven to desperation, she bargains with the fairies to give her one — which turns out badly.

    Mythology & Religion 
  • Theseus's father visited an oracle to find out why he was childless. Theseus was conceived on the way home.
  • The Bible:
    • The Book of Genesis is ripe with examples of this trope; in fact, the only matriarchs who don't have problems conceiving are Eve and Leah (who in fact subverts this trope, having at least seven children). Sarah, Rebekah, and Rachel were all infertile, and all three required divine intervention in order to have children.
    • Not just Genesis; the respective mothers of Samuel, Samson, John the Baptist, and, according to some apocryphal stories, Mary were all infertile. In fact, Michal, the wife of King David and daughter of King Saul, was the only notably infertile woman in the Bible who didn't eventually give birth (her infertility being a divine punishment).note 
    • The Four Gospels: Mary, however, probably has them all beat, having managed to bear a son without ever having had sex. God Himself made her pregnant.
  • In many versions of the oft-edited Arthurian Legend, Arthur and Guinevere want an heir but can't produce one, while a single dalliance with a woman who turned out to be his half-sister led to conception, birth, and eventually the child, Mordred, and Arthur inflicting a Mutual Kill on each other at Camlann. This is also true of Lancelot who fathered Galahad after one night with Elaine. Guinevere has been considered barren for a long time in the mythos, as evidenced by "Vanora's Mound" in Scotland.
  • In Egyptian Mythology, Set, God of Storms, Deserts, and Chaos, is infertile. Wanting an heir, his wife Nephthys pulls a Twin Switch on Osiris by disguising herself as her sister Isis, getting impregnated, and conceiving Anubis. This was kept a secret for a long time, with Set thinking Anubus was his biological son. When the secret comes out, he rejects Anubis, who becomes closer to Osiris as a result. One can imagine this becomes one of the driving factors behind Set murdering Osiris later on in the mythology.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Weird variant in the history of Forgotten Realms monarch Azoun of Cormyr: A red wizardess of Thay once used magic to seduce the king, apparently believing that their son could one day make a claim for the throne, stealing it from Azoun's legitimate daughters. Subverted in that, while she may well have succeeded in one try, Azoun had already sired so many illegitimate children in his bachelor-prince days that hers would have to get in line behind hundreds of older half-sibs. She may have gotten the son she wanted, but he won't be any use as a political pawn.
  • In Werewolf: The Apocalypse and Werewolf: The Forsaken, if two werewolves engage in the forbidden act with one another despite the massive social taboos involved and punishment that will fall upon their heads if they are caught, then conception is a virtual certainty. Thanks to their dual physical/spiritual nature, this frequently applies even if they used protection. The resulting offspring are (in Apocalypse) sterile, deformed, and frequently insane freaks or (in Forsaken 1E) horrifyingly hideous vengeful spirits. Averted in 2E, where it simply produces an especially powerful Wolf-Blooded.
  • Fellow World of Darkness game Changeling: The Lost plays the other half of this trope straight; Changelings are sterile from their time in Arcadia, so any changeling who wants to have kids has to resort to magical methods, all of which come with their downsides.

  • Blood Brothers is a major example of this trope - Mrs. Johnstone seems to have produced about ten kids and gives one away because she can't afford to have anymore. Ms. Lyons, on the other hand, wants nothing more than to have children of her own; but they can't conceive, and her husband refuses to adopt.
  • The Baker and his wife in Into the Woods want a child, but are magically cursed with infertility. Act 1 revolves around the quest they must complete before the Witch will lift the curse. (They have a baby in Act 2.)
  • Matilda plays this both ways. In the prologue, Mrs. Wormwood, who wanted anything but a second child, dishearteningly found out she was nine months pregnant with Matilda as she was preparing to compete in the Biannual International Salsa & Ballroom Dancing Championships. In the B-story told by Matilda, which is later revealed to be the story of Miss Honey's parents, the Acrobat and the Escapologist tried for years to conceive a child without success, until, on the day of their most dangerous stunt, "The Burning Woman Flying Through The Air With Dynamite In Her Hair... Caught by the Man Locked in the Cage", they found out that she was pregnant and attempted to cancel the performance, but contractual obligations forced them to perform anyway, and the Acrobat was gravely injured during the trick, dying after giving birth to their daughter.

    Video Games 
  • Played with in Baldur's Gate II in the form of Aerie, and more straightforwardly, the mod-added Kelsey and Saerileth.
  • Inverted in Crusader Kings, the "Have a Boy/Girl" ambition increases the character's fertility by 10% until they have a child of that specific gender.
  • Subverted in the popular module A Dance with Rogues: if the princess and Vico are in a romance, she ends up pregnant with his baby, which adds more tension to the group, as they all fear the consequences this could have due to the horrible situation they're in. Eventually, though, some of them start cautiously warming up to the idea, possibly including the princess and definitely including Vico. Then the princess is captured by the Dhorn and infected with a demonic plague that kills the baby.
  • Implied to be the case for any Grey Wardens who want children in the Dragon Age setting. Because of what they must do to join the order, it's very difficult for Grey Wardens to have children; most Grey Wardens who are parents became parents before their Joining. In the franchise thus far, there's only one confirmed case of a Grey Warden giving birth, and she's also the only one who somehow managed to not be a Grey Warden anymore. She has no idea how. It's something of a plot point at the end of Dragon Age: Origins if Alistair is king and marries the female Human Noble, because two Grey Wardens will have an even more difficult time conceiving, and they need an heir.
    • Also implied, but not confirmed, for King Cailan and Queen Anora in Dragon Age: Origins. They've been married for five years but have no children, and she's hit the age of thirty so her fertility is being questioned. She also mentions that Cailan had "discreet affairs" that have never produced any children as far as anyone knows, raising the possibility that Anora is fine and Cailan's the one shooting blanks. It's part of the major Succession Crisis which hits the country after the game's prologue is done.
    • In the setting's backstory it was believed that Andraste, the Bride of the Maker, was too frail to carry a child to term, so she allowed her husband to take a concubine so his line wouldn't die out. After Andraste's stepsons were grown, she unexpectedly had two daughters and even lived long enough to become a grandmother. Due to a combination of Andraste's bloodline only producing daughters, patrilineal naming traditions, the damage from the Second Blight, and Andraste's anger over her younger daughter marrying a Tevinter Magister, no one knows what became of Andraste's biological descendants.
  • Dragon Quest V: The Counts of Uptaten wanted children, but they were never able to conceive one since their lives were tragically cut short when monsters raided their castle and slaughtered everyone inside.
  • In The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV, Arianrhod, better known as Lianne Sandlot 250 years ago, turned out to be barren after she died and came Back from the Dead thanks to her life tethered to her Divine Knight. This is the reason why she ended up leaving Dreichels after the Civil War. Dreichels, while happy to see her again in his old age, wasn't amused that Lianne didn't even visit him throughout all those years, even knowing that she came back from the dead.
  • Zig-Zagged by The Boss in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, who was written to be a motherly woman in accordance with the game's maternity theme, but her own family life was a disaster. While she managed to successfully birth a child (during Operation Overlord no less), he was kidnapped by the Ancient Conspiracy who then forced her to kill her lover and the father of their child, The Sorrow. After that, she was rendered infertile from her involvement in Operation Buster–Jangle. As a result, she compensated by becoming A Father to His Men and a surrogate mother to 15-year-old Big Boss.
  • In Roots Of Pacha, Ron and Reese are a couple who wish to have children of their own because Reese loves them, but they remain childless and believe that it having them isn't part of Pacha's plan for them.
  • Implied in one bit of dialogue in Story of Seasons (2014). Margot, who has a son, thinks that Corona, who is childless, is jealous of her because of this. It's unknown if this is true, however, since Corona never says anything about it.
  • Summertime Saga: Tony and his wife Mia have been trying to conceive for over a year, but unfortunately Tony discovers that he's infertile. Meanwhile, MC regularly impregnates girls by accident or uses a Pregnax pill from Dr. Singh to ensure pregnancy will result. That's why Tony asks him to become a Glorified Sperm Donor.

    Visual Novels 
  • Spirit Hunter: NG:
    • The Urashima Woman's midwife desired a child of her own but never managed to conceive one. This eventually drove her insane, to the point that she murdered the woman and stole her child.
    • Yakumo desired a child, but it was incredibly difficult to conceive due to a spermatogenic disorder. Unknown to him, he did have a son who inherited his spiritual power like he wished.
  • In the sound novel Umineko: When They Cry, it takes Natsuhi and Krauss Ushiromiya 8 years after their marriage to conceive their daughter, Jessica. Krauss's ambitious younger sister Eva, however, gives birth almost immediately after she and Hideyoshi marry, so she tries to use this as a bargaining chip to secure her son George's headship in the family over Jessica.

  • Used in Arthur, King of Time and Space here. What kicks it up a notch is that it's the exact same people, but in different situations - one where they want to have a child, one where they don't. That particular comic makes it seem as though the desire to have a child is the one factor that keeps them from having one. Later averted in the space arc.
  • In the backstory of Blindsprings the royal family needs an heir, but two daughters are infertile and two died in childbirth, and two are too young to marry.
  • In Commander Kitty, Zenith's plan is to take over the galaxy with an army of her "perfect children." As it turns out, she never had a chance of having children in the first place, being an android and all.
  • Demonseed Redux: Rhoda tried to make babies with Chico for weeks while they were dating, but it just doesn't work. Dee has sex with Chico as friends and notes angels can't get pregnant by humans, but to everyone's, himself included, surprise Chico has already stopped being human by then.
  • Fur Will Fly ended with Tammy and Stewart trying (without much success) to have a kid while Brad and Page end up in a Shotgun Wedding. They succeeded in the end.
  • In Motherly Scootaloo: Scootaloo only "did it" once, and because she hadn't had sex ed yet, didn't know you could get pregnant that way.
  • Eugene and Sara Greenhilt's contraceptive spell fails in The Order of the Stick, leading to the protagonist's unplanned birth and the end of his mother's freewheeling lifestyle (until she got to the afterlife, anyway!)
    • Durkon loses his virginity to Hilgya. They have sex once, and we find out 1000 pages later that she bore his child from the encounter.
  • Lampshaded in The Rant for Bring Back Roomies!, as Willis tries to work out whether or not Mary was using birth control, and if not why not (since Past!Willis hadn't explained this) before concluding "Ah well. I guess the likelihood of getting pregnant when you’re evil and having dramatically hypocritical sex is about 1:1."
  • In various Bobbinsverse comics, Tim and Shelley conceive, and Shelley later tells Lottie that it was planned "In the same way that you plan a 32-car motorway pile-up." (She decides to keep the baby, though, partly because of the ticking of her biological clock.)
  • In Kevin & Kell, the sheep Corrie and Bruno had always wanted to have children, but they had planned on adopting to ensure they'd have a herbivore like them. (Context: Bruno is a wolf that transitioned into a herbivorous ram, and Corrie is half wolf through her father, so there was a good chance any biological child they had would be a carnivore.) When they decided to go for a biological child anyway, they tried for months until they found they wouldn't be able to have one. Lindesfarne's blog reveals it's because Corrie has a high chance of dying in childbirth as her mother did. They go back to their initial plan of adoption. Ironically, though, they end up adopting the insectivore Carla Chameleon.
  • In The Warrior Returns, Dohoon's parents tried for decades to have a child, but struggled to concieve one even with the use of artificial insemination. They only succeeded in their mid-40s after suffering through three miscarriages. Because of this, Dohoon became their world and they worked tirelessly to love and care for him. This is why Dohoon feels obligated to return to his world and see his parents despite his aged state, as he feels the need to inform them their their son is alright.

    Web Original 
  • Quite a few surprise pregnancies occur in Chakona Space, most notably Admiral Boyce's first three children (all by different mothers of supposedly incompatible species). On the other hand, most characters who want kids usually have little trouble making them, the major exception being Forestwalker's foxmorph mates Katrina and Kristopher.
  • Frequently happens in The Gungan Council. Beth gets knocked up after her first time ever and Kirk, who vehemently does not want children, knocks someone up as well with just one encounter.note 
  • In Receiver of Many Demeter states that divine offspring are usually conceived during the first time god or goddess have sex with someone. This explains why Zeus has so many bastards running around despite the fact that he rarely beds the same woman twice. However, Persephone, who actively wants to have children with her husband, cannot conceive despite her best efforts. Everyone thinks that’s because Hades is infertile. The truth is that Hades and Persephone can create life together, but it doesn’t take a form of a child but energy that renews earth each time Persephone comes back to the surface.
  • In a CollegeHumor animation that parodies those health class films shown to children about puberty, that discusses the pitfalls of aging, the trope is lampshaded. "A 15-year-old girl making a mistake on prom night has a better chance of getting pregnant than a 40-year-old woman actively trying to conceive with her husband." In the animation itself, a teenage girl goes into a bathroom with her boyfriend while an adult woman gets in bed with her husband... followed by the girl suddenly developing an Obvious Pregnancy right away, and the adult woman crying at a doctor's office as yet another pregnancy test comes back negative.
  • Averted with extreme prejudice in Ask Serious Rainbow: Serious is thrilled to find out she's infertile as she never wanted her own children (she's adopted Scootaloo, anyway), and that means she no longer has to take the anti-pregnancy elixir. That doesn't apply when she bends her gender, though, so Applejack still has to take it. She also criticizes the use of this trope to inject drama, claiming anyone who does so "can't write for shit" and finds it galling that she has to clarify that she's not mocking the trope.

    Western Animation 
  • Happened in Family Guy, where Lois and Peter tried to have a fourth baby. Of course, they had Stewie actively working against them, and eventually shrinking down to destroy every sperm in Peter's body. Manually. He meets a sperm he considers a worthy ally and abandons the plan, only for Peter and Lois to decide they actually don't want a fourth kid.
  • Delicately handled in The Flintstones. It is implied that Barney and Betty are unable to conceive a child. After the birth of Fred and Wilma's daughter Pebbles, the Rubbles come by to see the new baby every night until one day Fred gets sick of them and angrily orders them out of the house, which drives Betty to tears. Fortunately, their prayers are answered the next day when they're left with a Doorstop Baby, Bamm-Bamm.
  • A flashback episode of King of the Hill reveals that prior to conceiving Bobby, Hank had been declared infertile due to a narrow urethra, which was exacerbated by his habitual uptightness. He and Peggy gave up on trying to have a baby and got a puppy (Ladybird) instead. Playing with the puppy was relaxing enough to counteract Hank's anatomical difficulties, and pregnancy ensued.
    • Later, when Hank and Peggy are trying to have a second child, Hank's seventy-something father Cotton winds up having a child with his forty-something wife Didi. After the baby is born and both parents are neglecting him, Peggy even miserably alludes to the fact that she can't have a child while they somehow got to have a "beautiful child they don't even want." The episode ends with Peggy rocking the baby to sleep with her toes, despite being in a full-body cast.
  • Princess Carolyn in BoJack Horseman is desperate for a family of her own despite being in her forties, but during her life has had no fewer than five miscarriages and is still unmarried. This reaches a climax in "Ruthie," when she breaks up with her fiance after miscarrying their child. However, in season five she is seeking to adopt, and in the season finale, becomes the adoptive mother of a newborn baby girl.
    • In season three, upon hearing that Diane is planning on getting an abortion after her surprise pregnancy, Princess Carolyn sarcastically pities her for having a husband and being able to have children while she herself has neither.
  • The Simpsons - In "Eight Misbehavin'", Apu and Manjula are trying to have a child with no success. Apu asks Homer how he and Marge did it, and Homer laughingly notes that each of their kids was unintentional. He then tries to deliberately invoke this trope to help them - staging an entire setup where they were having sex dressed in teenage-y clothes in the backseat of a car, while Majula reads her lines in a monotone: "Oh no, I hope I don't get pregnant." And of course, because apparently every member of the Simpson family sans Maggie was slipping Manjula fertility drugs, they have octuplets.
  • In the ThunderCats (2011) episode "Native Son," a flashback reveals that the king and queen of Thundera tried to have a child for years. It got so bad that the queen worried she might be infertile. Their concerns were put to rest when baby Tygra literally flew into their lives in a balloon. So of course, just when the royal couple has gotten comfortable with Tygra inheriting the throne as crown prince, the queen became pregnant. Then she died in childbirth, so little Tygra lost his mother and the throne in one night.
  • Bluey: In "Onesies", Chilli's older sister Brandy visits the Heeler family for the first time in years. It's later heavily implied through a kid-friendly metaphor that Brandy wants children but can't have any of her own due to infertility. She loves her nieces, but seeing them is also a painful reminder of what she can never have.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Inverse Fertility Law, Inverse Law Of Fertility


Brandy can't have kids

Chilli explains to Bluey, that her sister Brandy desperately wants children like her own, however due to unknown circumstances she is unable, which has left her deeply affected emotionally.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (28 votes)

Example of:

Main / LawOfInverseFertility

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