According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Ismaïl fathered 888 children, the greatest number of progeny for anyone throughout history that can be verified. Based on reports by Dominique Busnot, a French diplomat who frequently traveled to Morocco, the sultan may actually have had 1,171 children from four wives and 500 concubines by 1704. At that time, Ismaïl was 57 and had ruled for 32 years.
Some researchers claimed it was unlikely Ismaïl could have fathered that many offspring, noting that women are only fertile for a small window each month, that sperm usually do not fertilize eggs, and that infertility often afflicts women, especially in the developing world. However, other scientists argued women are more fertile than those doubting Ismaïl had said.
To solve this question, scientists developed computer simulations to see how many times Ismaïl had to have sex each day to have 1,171 children in 32 years. They found the sultan could have set this record.
"We were as conservative as possible with our calculations, and Moulay could still achieve this outcome," study lead author Elisabeth Oberzaucher, an anthropologist at the University of Vienna, told Live Science.