Dr Christina Weis

Job: Research Assistant

Faculty: Health and Life Sciences

School/department: School of Applied Social Sciences

Research group(s): Centre for Reproduction Research

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH

T: 0116 250 6576

E: christina.weis@dmu.ac.uk

W: www.dmu.ac.uk/hls


Personal profile

Christina Weis is a research assistant at the Centre for Reproduction Research. She holds a PhD in Sociology with Anthropology. Her doctoral thesis, titled ‘Reproductive Migrations. Surrogacy Workers and Reproductive Stratification in St Petersburg’ explores commercial gestational surrogacy in Russia, and was funded by a De Montfort University Research Scholarship.

Her research interests lie in medical anthropology, gender studies, social aspects of in/fertility, assisted reproductive technologies, reproductive justice and migration. She is in particular in ethnographic methods and the geographic region of Eastern Europe and Russia.

Christina also works as a research assistant at the University of Leicester in ‘The Embedding Study’, on increasing the uptake of effective self-management education programmes for type 2 diabetes in multi-ethnic primary care settings in the UK. Furthermore, she collaborates with Dr Michal Nahman at UWE Bristol on an ethnographic study on the experiences of migrant women who 'donate' their eggs in Spain.


Publications and outputs 

  • Weis, C. (forthcoming) Situational ethics in a feminist ethnography on
    commercial surrogacy in Russia: Negotiating access and authority when
    recruiting participants through institutional gatekeepers. Methodological Innovations.
  • Weis, C. (2017), Speier, A. Fertility Holidays. IVF Tourism and the Reproduction of Whiteness. New York: New York University Press: 2016.
  • Weis, C. (2016), Rudrappa, S. Discounted Life: The Price of Global Surrogacy. New York: New York University Press: 2015.

  •  Weis, C. (2015), Workers or mothers? The business of surrogacy in Russia. Open Democracy. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/christina-weis/workers-or-mothers-business-of-surrogacy-in-russia.

Key research outputs

PhD thesis: Reproductive Migrations: Surrogacy Workers and Stratified Reproduction in St Petersburg.

MA dissertation: “Born to Birth”? - Surrogacy Workers in Saint Petersburg.

Research interests/expertise

  • Medical Anthropology
  • Gender Studies/ Queer Studies
  • Reproduction Research
  • Social Aspects of Infertility
  • Post‑socialism
  • Russia, Eastern Europe
  • Ethnographic Research

Areas of teaching

Gender and health


  • PhD, De Montfort University.
  • BA Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Vienna.
  • MSc Cultural Anthropology: Sociocultural Transformations (research), Utrecht University

Honours and awards

  • Visiting Research Scholarship, The Netherlands Institute in Saint Petersburg, 2012-13
  • PhD Studentship, De Montfort University, 2013-16

Conference attendance

  • Transnational surrogacy in the post-Soviet sphere. Geographic and geo-political stratifications amongst migrant and commuting surrogacy workers in Russia. 4S Sydney. August 2018.


  • Who Controls the Womb? How commercial surrogacy agencies are entrepreneurs attempting to change surrogacy regulations in Russia. Remaking Reproduction. The Global Politics of Reproductive Technologies, University of Cambridge, 27-29 June 2018
  • Bioavailability and Beyond. Egg Donation in Spain. (Dr Michal Nahman and Dr Christina Weis). Deconstructing Donation Study Group Conference. University of Bristol, UK, December 2017. 


  • Geographic and Geo-Political Stratifications across Russia’s ‘Reproscapes’: Experiences of Migrant and Commuting Surrogacy Workers in St Petersburg. Ethnographies of Surrogacy Practice. Global Surrogacy and Local Practices. University of Amsterdam, December 2017.


  • ‘Fertile’, ‘docile’, yet undesired. Ethnic stratifications of the ‘other’, non‑Slavic surrogacy worker. X AFIN International Conference: Reproductive Politics, Rights and Desires. Barcelona, November 2017


  • ‘Fertile’, ‘docile’, yet undesired. Ethnic stratifications of the ‘other’, non Slavic surrogacy worker. Gender and Sexuality in Russia, Eastern Europe and Eurasia: past and present. University of Nottingham, March 2017.


  • ‘Fertile’, ‘docile’, yet undesired. Ethnic stratifications of the ‘other’, non Slavic surrogacy worker. Gender and Sexuality in Russia, Eastern Europe and Eurasia: past and present. University of Nottingham, March 2017.


  • Reproductive Migration - Reproductive Stratification. Commercial Surrogate Motherhood in St Petersburg, Russia. Poster Presentation. 9th International Conference on Social Science Methodology. University of Leicester. September 2016.


  • Wearing out my Welcome? Negotiating Authority and Access when Recruiting Participants with the Help of Gatekeepers. 9th International Conference on Social Science Methodology, Social Studies of Reproduction: Conceptualising and Accessing Reproduction. University of Leicester. September 2016.


  • Morally Prepared, Making Rational Decisions:  Becoming a Gestational Surrogacy Worker in Russia. 2nd AIBR International Conference of Anthropology, Barcelona. September 2016.


  • Perspektiven und Methoden der Medizinanthropologie am Beispiel kommerzieller Leihmutterschaft [Medical Anthropological Issues and Methods. The Example of Commercial Surrogacy].  Summer Academy for Integrative Medicine. Witten, Germany. August 2016.


  • Emotionen als (ethnographische) Forschungsmethodik und Umgang mit eigenen Emotionen im Forschungsprozess [Emotions as an Ethnographic Method and Working with Researcher’s Emotions]. Summer Academy for Integrative Medicine. Witten, Germany. August 2016.


  • Making the Relationship Work. Ethnographic Accounts of Surrogacy Relationships in St Petersburg, Russia. Framing International Surrogacy, Workshop. University of Sussex. July 2016.


  • Working with your emotions when your emotions work on you. LOVA School of Experimental Education. University of Amsterdam. July 2016.

  • The process of deciding and becoming a surrogacy worker in Russia. Second Health and Life Science PhD Student Conference, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK. June 2016.

  • Emotion work and self-care in feminist ethnographic research. School of Applied Social Science Symposium. De Montfort University, Leicester, UK. June 2016.

  • Sidelined in the process – and in research? Researching cis-gendered heterosexual men in gestational surrogacy arrangements. Human Reproduction Study Group Annual Conference, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK. June 2016.

  • Trajectories of labour and delivery: Surrogacy workers in Russia. Gender, justice and the political economy of the cross-border fertility industry, University of Vienna, Austria. April 2016.

  • Surrogacy Workers: Russia's Reproductive Migrants and the Market in Commercial Surrogate Motherhood. Department of Slavic and Eurasian Studies, University of Texas, Austin, USA. February 2016.

  • The Organisation and Negotiation of Commercial Gestational Surrogacy in Russia. Reproductive Rights, New Reproductive Technologies and the European Fertility Market. University of Cantabria, Santander, Spain. November 2015.

  • Between Duty, Desire and Denial - Negotiating a Surrogacy Relationship. Presentation. BSA Human Reproduction Study Group Annual Conference. Open University, Milton Keynes. July 2015.

  • Duty or Desire? How Surrogate Mothers Negotiate the Relationship with Intending Parents. Presentation. Political is Personal: Regime of Gender, Health and Care. European University at Saint Petersburg, Russia. April 2015.

  • ‘Не страшно ничего, работа есть работа. [Not horrible at all, work is work]’. Working as a ‘Surrogate Mother’ in Saint Petersburg. Seminar. Centre for Independent Social Research. Saint Petersburg, Russia. September 2014.

  • “Born to Birth”? – Gestational Surrogacy as a Form of Reproductive Body Work in Russia. Presentation. LOVA 3rd International Conference. Ethnographies of Gender and the Body.  Amsterdam. July 2014.

  • Reproductive Migrations. Gestational Surrogacy Workers in Russia. Poster presentation. Psychology, Sociology and Politics Research Conference. Sheffield Hallam University. June 2014.

  • Reproductive Migrations. Gestational Surrogacy Workers in Russia. Presentation at Reproduction Research Group Meeting. De Montfort University, Leicester. June 2014.

  • Being Pregnant or Doing Work? Gestational Surrogacy in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Presentation. Postgraduate Conference ‘The Sociology of Technologically Mediated Reproduction’. De Montfort University, Leicester. May 2014.

  • Reproductive Migrations. Gestational Surrogacy Workers in Russia. Poster presentation. ‘Research Degree Students’ Poster Competition and Research Open Day’. De Montfort University, Leicester. April 2014. Award for best poster.

  • Peste hotare. Influența migrației forței de muncă cu privire la alegerile educaționale ale copiilor migranților din Republica Moldova. [Abroad. The impact of labour migration on the educational choices of the migrants' children in the Republic of Moldova]. Presentation. Anthropological Seminar. Moldova State University, Chişinău. December 2010.


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