The Culture Engine
Gestation and Birth
Reproduction is not a biological effort; it is handled by the automata.
By an undocumented series of mechanisms, the gestation (usually), birth (always), and initial stages of neo-natal care (nearly always) occur in an area of the Palace known as The Estuary.
The Estuary is a vast wing that looks, for all intents and purposes, like a quiet, dimly lit lake. Occasionally, a sleek boat carrying Automata attendants can be seen gently gliding along the surface.
The lake is in fact a replication of amniotic fluid, and suspended in the depths below its surface are human zygotes and developing fetuses, sorted by their developmental stages. Their origins are unknown and largely unquestioned by the Citizenship. Newly hatched infants are always healthy and shortly after a period of neo-natal care in the adjacent Nurseries, pods volunteering to raise newly hatched children are assigned their charges seemingly at random.
Note: there has not been an actual case of biological conception or gestation in several lifetimes within the Palace, nor documented in its Library. It is widely believed that it is no longer possible for Citizens to conceive biologically as a result of augmentation technology and the symbiosis with the Automata.