"Writing about the future, I have a vested interest in there being a future for me to write about."
Most of the devices that work with human reproduction are either very simple devices that impose a barrier between the sperm and the egg (which require some element of foresight to use), or they manipulate hormones, which has a number of side-effects.
Stephenson proposes a very tiny machine that would live inside of a woman's fallopian tube and grab each egg that came along before it had the chance to encounter any sperm cells that might be passing by. Assuming that the nanomachine was well-trained, and didn't start attacking other cells that passed by, this could work.
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