Each family unit is made up of a mother and father who do not repopulate together. Young women are assigned to be birth mothers and they are allowed to have three children each. They are fed well and taken care of, but after having a child, the mothers go into hard labor, such as working in the agricultural fields. Meanwhile, the new children go to stay in a building together for their first year as they are weighed and monitored by Nurturers like Jonas's father. Parental units must apply for new children before they receive one. Jonas mentions that his friend's parents waited a long time before they applied for a second child because Asher was such a handful when he was young.
"Asher poked Jonas's arm. 'Remember when we got Phillipa?' he asked in a loud whisper. Jonas nodded. It had only been last year. Asher's parents had waited quite a long time before applying for a second child. Maybe Jonas suspected, they had been so exhausted by Asher's lively foolishness that they had needed a little time" (43).
Family units do not apply to have more than two children, though. Everything is standardized, measured, and strictly regulated in the society. As a result, families are kept small in order to keep each other in check and following the rules of the community.