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"did I had an extremely expensive wife - she would see a new car that she liked and just buy it... under California law I was bound to buy her debts. I think I turned out 16 novels in five years."
- Philip K. Dick

Parenthood Lottery  
  A means of restricting population growth.  

I'm not sure how old this idea is; here is a reference from Aldiss' story.

He caught a glimpse of the heading on the photostat in her hand, still moist from the wall-receiver: Ministry of Population. He felt the color drain from his face in sudden shock and hope.

"Monica ... oh ... Don't tell me our number's come up!"

"Yes, my darling, yes, we've won this week's parenthood lottery! We can go ahead and conceive a child at once!"

He let out a yell of joy. They danced round the room. Pressure of population was such that reproduction had to be strict, controlled. Childbirth required government permission. For this moment, they had waited four years. Incoherently they cried their delight.

From Super-Toys Last All Summer Long, by Brian Aldiss.
Published by Harper's Bazaar in 1969
Additional resources -

Larry Niven also talks about this idea in his Known Space stories, but I can't think of any references earlier than 1969.

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