How do you get a baby in less than 9 months?

There is a popular adage among project managers that no matter how many women you put on it, you can’t get a baby in less than 9 months.  Personal experience would seem to bear this out. Barry Boehm's Cone of UncertaintyOur daughter was 10 days late (or 5, depending on which estimate you believe), our son 9 days early, so that’s well within the best error bounds of Barry Boehm’s Cone of Uncertainty. Of course, this is a well-defined problem which has been repeated over millions of years, so there’s good estimation data to base it on.

Look slightly further afield, however, and we have friends who managed to get a baby in 6 months (so they have a son who is both older by birthday and younger by conception than our daughter). He needed a lot more care and attention after delivery. He was in an incubator for over a month, and wasn’t allowed home from hospital until shortly before his original due date. He also had developmental problems, although fortunately in his case he has now grown out of them. But not everyone is so fortunate. According to

  • “A baby born at 36 weeks will probably be a little slow to feed.
  • “A baby born before 33 weeks will have more serious problems including, possibly, immature lungs.
  • “Birth before 28 weeks causes very significant problems but the survival rate is quite remarkable.”

They also say “Severe problems such as cerebral palsy, blindness and deafness may affect as many as 10 to 15% of significantly premature babies.”

There is another way to get a baby quicker. Don’t grow your own but go out and find one available from someone else. However, adoption is not necessarily quicker once you get through all the legals. According to the British government web site, it can take 3 months to find a suitable child and 8 months for the adoption process to complete. Maybe you could go abroad – but there is still a lot of legal tape to go through. And it’s not your own IP, although in this case it does become legally yours once the process has concluded.

But we’re making a huge assumption here. Have you checked the requirements, or are you just assuming you know what the client wants?

3 kittens playing on a drying frame

3 babies obtained at 6 days notice

Last year we managed to get 3 babies in 7 days. Here’s a picture of the boys shortly after they arrived – Sparks, Snufkin and Smudger.

Sorry? You thought I meant a human baby? No, we’ve got 2 children, and we’re very happy with them, but that’s enough. In this case we were looking for baby cats. Admittedly it’s not our IP, but that was fine. There was still a vetting process, but a 30-minute phone call and a 1-hour face-to-face interview was all it took.

If we had wanted to build them ourself, you can get a cat in 9 weeks on average, and you typically get several at once. If we’d wanted a Syrian hamster, it would only have taken 16 days.

So, it is possible to get a baby in a lot less than 9 months if you relax the requirements and are happy to buy it in. If you’re determined to go with the original specification, you may be able to get away with delivering early, but you should expect to have a lot of high-dependency care and attention after delivery, it may not be suitable for taking out and demonstrating immediately, and you may never get your product to the quality you would have achieved if you had taken the full time.

You pays your money and you takes your choice…

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