The twin babies that Elon Musk fathered with Shivon Zilis, one of his senior employees at his brain chip company Neuralink, were conceived through in vitro fertilization, according to a report.
Ms. Zilis, 36, reportedly told colleagues that she and her 51-year-old billionaire boss never had a sexual relationship or had a romantic relationship in any way, according to Reuters.
The Canadian-born executive, who works as Musk’s director of operations and special projects at Neuralink, told some of her colleagues that she conceived the children with the Tesla CEO through IVF, according to five people familiar with the situation. New York Post reports. The accuracy of Ms. Zilis’ account could not be established.
Stream more entertainment news live and on demand with Flash. More than 25 news channels in 1 place. New to Flash? Try 1 month free. Offer ends October 31, 2022 >
After working at Neuralink for five years, Ms. Zilis gave birth to the twins last November.
Company rules prohibit employees from having personal relationships with anyone in a more senior position due to potential conflicts of interest.
But Reuters reports that company management accepted Ms. Zilis’s explanation that her arrangement with Mr. Musk was not romantic in nature. She has therefore been allowed to continue in her role as director of operations and special projects.
The sources also told Reuters that Ms Zilis and Mr Musk continued to work together in the months after the twins were born.
Zilis and spokespeople for Musk and Neuralink did not respond to requests for comment.
The world’s richest man, who has spoken frequently about declining birth rates and the threat they pose to humanity, has confirmed that he is the father of Ms Zilis’s twins. He has fathered 10 children with three different women, nine of whom are alive. (Musk’s first child, Nevada, died in 2002 at 10 weeks of age of SIDS.)
The twins were born a month before Musk and Canadian pop singer Grimes welcomed their second child, a girl, via surrogacy.
In April, Ms. Zilis and Mr. Musk petitioned a Texas court to allow the children to “have their father’s last name and contain their mother’s last name as part of their middle name,” Business Insider reported.
The request was approved by a judge in May.
“Doing everything we can to help the depopulation crisis,” Musk joked after Insider reported on the birth of the twins.
In another tweet, he wrote: “Birth rate collapse is by far the greatest danger facing civilization.”
Corporate governance experts interviewed by Reuters were divided on whether Musk violated ethical boundaries by having children with Zilis.
Neuralink’s own employee handbook prohibits “personal relationships” and “close personal friendships” between employees and their direct managers.
But the arrangement between Musk and Zilis is unusual, experts said.
“Whoever the lawyer who wrote this language [in the company code of conduct] I didn’t contemplate this situation,” said Nell Minow, vice president of corporate governance consultancy ValueEdge Advisors.
He added that this case sought to “fall into oblivion” of the spirit of politics, which aims to avoid conflicts of interest.
Neuralink requires employees involved in any type of relationship that may create a conflict of interest to disclose it to the “manager of people operations” so that the company can decide what steps to take to mitigate potential problems.
This story was first published in the New York Post and is reproduced here with permission.