Professor Nicky Hudson

Job: Professor of Medical Sociology

Faculty: Health and Life Sciences

School/department: School of Applied Social Sciences

Research group(s): Centre for Reproduction Research - Centre Director

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

T: +44 (0)116 207 8766

E: nhudson@dmu.ac.uk

W: www.dmu.ac.uk/hls

Social Media: https://twitter.com/nicky_hudson

 

Personal profile

Nicky Hudson is a medical sociologist with particular expertise in social and cultural significance of reproduction, infertility and assisted reproductive technologies. Her work also focuses on the sociology of chronic illness. Uniting these themes is an emphasis on intersectionalities and questions of individual-biomedicine-society relations. She has received funding for her work from the Economic and Social Research Council, the Wellcome Trust, Foundation for Sociology of Health and Illness and the National Institute for Health Research. Her research is characterised by a strong commitment to interdisciplinary collaboration, social translation and impact.

She leads the Centre for Reproduction Research, an interdisciplinary centre of expertise dedicated to the production of scholarship on the social, cultural and political aspects of human reproduction based in the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences. The Centre has representation from sociology, psychology, anthropology, science and technology studies, nursing, midwifery, health policy and health sciences.

Research group affiliations

Publications and outputs 

  • Recipient and donor experiences of known egg donation: Implications for fertility counselling
    Recipient and donor experiences of known egg donation: Implications for fertility counselling Martin, N; Mahmoodi, N; Jones, G; Hudson, Nicky Objective: To explore the experiences of known egg donors and recipients in order to inform counselling practice. Background: Relatively little is known about known egg donation as a form of family-building in the UK, and on the experiences of individuals who have sought this form of donation. As such, there is a lack of guidance for fertility counselling in this area. Method: This was a cross-sectional, qualitative study. A purposive sample of four recipient women were recruited via a national support group for women experiencing Premature Ovarian Insufficiency (POI). Known egg donors (n=3) and recipient men (n=3) were recruited via a snowball sample, as identified by recipient women. In-depth interviews were conducted with participants. Interviews were transcribed and analysed using thematic analysis. Results: Four themes were generated from the data: 1) ‘Doing anything’: existing relationships as the motivation to donate; 2) ‘It was my duty’: feelings of obligation to donate and to receive; 3) ‘Woman-to-woman’: a woman-centred experience; and 4) ‘Going through this together’: changed versus unchanged relationships. Conclusions: The study highlights a number of implications in known egg donation, arising from the relationships involved. It is recommended that these implications are considered by infertility counsellors in the provision of counselling, and by those undergoing known egg donation when seeking information and support, before, during and after the donation. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
  • Patient perceptions of living with severe asthma: Challenges to effective management
    Patient perceptions of living with severe asthma: Challenges to effective management Apps, Lindsay D; Chantrell, Stacey; Majd, Sally; Eglinton, Elizabeth; Singh, Sally J; Murphy, Anna C; Bradding, Peter; Green, Ruth H; Hudson, Nicky; Evans, Rachael A Background: The management of severe asthma poses many challenges related to treatment, adherence and psychosocial morbidity. There is little direct data from the patient perspective to understand and negotiate the complexities of managing severe asthma Objective: To explore the patient perceptions of living with severe asthma and the experience of managing severe asthma, in order to better understand the support that might promote more effective self-management for severe asthma. Methods: Participants were recruited from a specialist Difficult Asthma Service. Semi-structured interviews were conducted by researchers independent of the patient’s care. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and inductive Thematic Analysis was performed. Results: Twenty-nine participants [13 male, mean (SD) age 49.5 (13.6) years, mean Asthma Control Questionnaire 2.2 (1.2)] participated in an interview. Analysis resulted in four major themes describing the experience and challenges to managing severe asthma: Understanding of severe asthma, emotional impact of living with severe asthma (sub-theme: fear of hospitalisation), public perceptions of asthma, and concerns about medications. Conclusion: Healthcare professionals need to consider and discuss with patients their perceptions of severe asthma and the relevant treatments; particular attention should focus around education of disease control and actively exploring thoughts around hospitalisation. Our data highlights the potential for psychological and social support to enhance self-management by directly addressing the wide-ranging individual challenges patients face. There is also a need for greater public awareness and education about severe asthma to minimise patient distress particularly in the work environment. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
  • Reproduction research: From complexity to methodological innovation
    Reproduction research: From complexity to methodological innovation Buhler, N; Daly, I; Hudson, Nicky; Baldwin, K.; Herbrand, C.
  • Qualitative study to identify ethnicity-specific perceptions of and barriers to asthma management in South Asian and White British children with asthma
    Qualitative study to identify ethnicity-specific perceptions of and barriers to asthma management in South Asian and White British children with asthma Lakhanpaul, M.; Culley, Lorraine; Huq, T.; Robertson, N.; McFeeters, Melanie; Manikam, L.; Johal, N.; Hamlyn-Williams, C.; Hudson, Nicky; Bird, D.; Johnson, M.R.D. Objective This paper draws on the data from the Management and Interventions for Asthma (MIA) study to explore the perceptions and experiences of asthma in British South Asian children using semi-structured interviews. A comparable cohort of White British children was recruited to identify whether any emerging themes were subject to variation between the two groups so that generic and ethnicity-specific themes could be identified for future tailored intervention programmes for South Asian children with asthma. Setting South Asian and White British children with asthma took part in semi-structured interviews in Leicester, UK. Participants Thirty three South Asian and 14 White British children with asthma and aged 5–12 years were interviewed. Results Both similar and contrasting themes emerged from the semi-structured interviews. Interviews revealed considerable similarities in the experience of asthma between the South Asian and White British children, including the lack of understanding of asthma (often confusing trigger with cause), lack of holistic discussions with healthcare professionals (HCPs), an overall neutral or positive experience of interactions with HCPs, the role of the family in children’s self-management and the positive role of school and friends. Issues pertinent to South Asian children related to a higher likelihood of feeling embarrassed and attributing physical activity to being a trigger for asthma symptoms. Conclusions The two ethnicity-specific factors revealed by the interviews are significant in children’s self-management of asthma and therefore, indicate the need for a tailored intervention in South Asian children. This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to copy, redistribute, remix, transform and build upon this work for any purpose, provided the original work is properly cited, a link to the licence is given, and indication of whether changes were made. Open access article
  • Egg donation imaginaries: embodiment, ethics, and future family formation
    Egg donation imaginaries: embodiment, ethics, and future family formation Hudson, Nicky This paper considers the sociological utility of the ‘imaginary’ for understanding how a growing number of women who seek to conceive using donated eggs might make sense of their future desires, hopes and ambivalences. By combining the imaginary with insights from authors working on ideas about everyday or ‘ordinary’ ethics it considers how deliberations about egg donation take place and how future motherhood is constructed. Three main aspects of what are referred to as ‘egg donation imaginaries’ are defined: ‘imagining donor egg motherhood’; ‘imagining donor motivations’; and ‘imagining the donor’. The paper illustrates how the imaginary is a valuable analytical device because it illuminates how ideas, ambivalences, deliberations, and reflections about future family building are deeply social, embodied and reflexive. The imaginary advances sociological theorizing of reproduction more generally and helps to bridge existing tensions between individual practices and wider social and policy imaginaries. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
  • Conducting dyadic, relational research about endometriosis: A reflexive account of methods, ethics and data analysis
    Conducting dyadic, relational research about endometriosis: A reflexive account of methods, ethics and data analysis Hudson, Nicky; Law, Caroline; Culley, Lorraine; Mitchell, H.; Denny, E.; Raine-Fenning, N. Despite a growing literature on the value of relational data in studies of social phenomena, individuals still commonly constitute the basic unit of analysis in qualitative research. Methodological aspects of interviewing couples, particularly interviewing partners separately, and of conducting dyadic analysis have received scant attention. This article describes the experience of conducting separate interviews with both partners in 22 heterosexual couples (n = 44) in a study of the impact of the gynaecological condition endometriosis. In order to advance current methodological thinking regarding interviewing couples, we describe the dyadic, relational approach employed in designing the study and our specific method of dyadic analysis. We argue that utilising separate interviews with dyadic analysis rather than conducting joint interviews, while not without its ethical, practical and analytical challenges, offers considerable methodological benefits. Such an approach allows a unique relational insight into the impact of chronic illness on couples and how they navigate chronic illness by illuminating both shared and individual interpretations, experiences, understandings and meanings open access article
  • Running out of time: Exploring women’s motivations for social egg freezing
    Running out of time: Exploring women’s motivations for social egg freezing Baldwin, K.; Hudson, Nicky; Culley, Lorraine; Mitchell, H. Objective: Few qualitative studies have explored women’s use of social egg freezing. Derived from an interview study of 31 participants, this paper explores the motivations of women using this technology. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 31 users of social egg freezing resident in the UK (n= 23), USA (n=7) and Norway (n=1). Interviews were face to face (n=16), through Skype and Facetime (n=9) or by telephone (n=6). Data were analysed using interpretive thematic analysis. Results: Women’s use of egg freezing was shaped by fears of running out of time to form a conventional family, difficulties in finding a partner and concerns about ‘panic partnering’, together with a desire to avoid future regrets and blame. For some women, use of egg freezing was influenced by recent fertility or health diagnoses as well as critical life events. A fifth of the participants also disclosed an underlying fertility or health issue as affecting their decision. Conclusion: The study provides new insights in to the complex motivations women have for banking eggs. It identifies how women’s use of egg freezing was an attempt to ‘preserve fertility’ in the absence of the particular set of ‘life conditions’ they regarded as crucial for pursuing parenthood. It also demonstrates that few women were motivated by a desire to enhance their career and that the boundaries between egg freezing for medical and for social reasons may be more porous than first anticipated. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
  • Fit to father? Online accounts of lifestyle changes and help-seeking on a male infertility board.
    Fit to father? Online accounts of lifestyle changes and help-seeking on a male infertility board. Hanna, Esmee; Gough, Brendan; Hudson, Nicky The reproductive realm is routinely viewed as a feminised space requiring women’s commitment and labour. By contrast, men’s procreative contributions and ‘reproductive masculinity’ is represented as unproblematic, with men assumed to be fertile across the lifespan. Recent scientific research has, however, cast doubt over these longstanding assumptions, suggesting that a link does exist between ‘lifestyle’ factors and male fertility. The notion that fertility can be improved with effort (for both women and men) can be located within wider cultural and political shifts which construct individuals as increasingly responsible for acting on health messages and engaging in self-disciplining body projects. Through an exploration of ‘lifestyle changes’ within a men’s online infertility discussion forum board, this paper examines how discourses of individualisation healthism and masculinity are reproduced and interlinked. Our thematic analysis indicates that ‘lifestyle work’ is construed as crucial for achieving conception - and as a means to demonstrate men’s commitment to the dyadic goal of parenthood, which in turn may challenge and extend previous notions of ‘reproductive masculinity’. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version.
  • Fit to father? Online accounts of lifestyle changes and help‐seeking on a male infertility board
    Fit to father? Online accounts of lifestyle changes and help‐seeking on a male infertility board Hanna, Esmee; Gough, Brendan; Hudson, Nicky The reproductive realm is routinely viewed as a feminised space requiring women’s commitment and labour. By contrast, men’s procreative contributions and ‘reproductive masculinity’ is represented as unproblematic, with men assumed to be fertile across the lifespan. Recent scientific research has, however, cast doubt over these longstanding assumptions, suggesting that a link does exist between ‘lifestyle’ factors and male fertility. The notion that fertility can be improved with effort (for both women and men) can be located within wider cultural and political shifts which construct individuals as increasingly responsible for acting on health messages and engaging in self-disciplining body projects. Through an exploration of ‘lifestyle changes’ within a men’s online infertility discussion forum board, this paper examines how discourses of individualisation healthism and masculinity are reproduced and interlinked. Our thematic analysis indicates that ‘lifestyle work’ is construed as crucial for achieving conception - and as a means to demonstrate men’s commitment to the dyadic goal of parenthood, which in turn may challenge and extend previous notions of ‘reproductive masculinity’.
  • A qualitative study of patients' experiences of participating in SPACE FOR COPD: A self-management Programme of Activitiy, Coping and Education
    A qualitative study of patients' experiences of participating in SPACE FOR COPD: A self-management Programme of Activitiy, Coping and Education Apps, L. D.; Harrison, S. L.; Mitchell, Katy E.; Williams, Johanna A.; Hudson, Nicky; Singh, S. J. Aims: To understand experiences of participation in a supported self-management programme for COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). Background: There is a wealth of clinical trials examining the outcomes of self-management interventions for individuals with COPD, but current understanding regarding patients’ perspectives of such complex interventions is limited. Further insight may help to tailor self-management interventions and maximise patient engagement. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with individuals participating in a self-management programme, SPACE FOR COPD. Interviews took place at six weeks and six months following the programme. Data were analysed at each time point using inductive thematic analysis and subsequently re-examined together. Results: Forty interviews were carried out and four themes emerged from the analysis; ‘perceptions of the programme’, ‘lifestyle changes’, ‘social support’ and ‘disrupting factors and barriers to maintaining routines’. Conclusion: SPACE FOR COPD was acceptable to participants in this study.The importance of education and social support was emphasised at both time points, but with challenges such as co-morbidities, family members’ ill health, limited maintenance of exercise behaviours over the longer term. Further consideration of the role of carers and partners may help to improve adherence with self-management programmes once healthcare professional support has stopped. open access article


Click here for a full listing of Nicky Hudson‘s publications and outputs.

Research interests/expertise

  • Sociology of reproduction, especially infertility, assisted reproductive technologies, gamete donation and freezing, surrogacy and cross border reproduction
  • Sociology of medicine
  • Chronic illness
  • Qualitative research methods

Areas of teaching

  • Gender, health and healthcare
  • Social Research Methods

Membership of professional associations and societies

  • Member of British Sociological Association
  • Convener of BSA East Midlands Medical Sociology Group
  • Member Society for Social Studies of Science (2015 - 2016)
  • Member ESHRE (2014-2015)
  • Member of International Sociological Association (2010-2014)  

Current research students

I supervise students on the following subjects:

  • Reproduction
  • Assisted Reproductive Technologies
  • Medicine
  • Chronic Illness

Externally funded research grants information

Current research projects:

  • Egg Donation in the UK, Belgium and Spain: an interdisciplinary studyHudson (PI) with Culley, Herbrand, Pennings, Provoost, Pavone. ESRC.  £494,350. April 2017-March 2020. Grant ref. ES/N010604/1.
  • Digitizing Reproduction: new technologies, intersectionality and the politics of inclusion. Research Development Grant funded by the Foundation for the Sociology of Health and Illness. Mackkintosh, N. (PI), Hudson, N. (CI), Mcintosh, T. Sandall, J. and Verdezoto, N. £5952.38. April 2018 - June 2018.
  • Understanding Klinefelters Syndrome: genetics, gender and reproduction. The Foundation For Sociology of Health and Illness. Hanna, E. (PI), Hudson, N. (CI), McEleny, K. Stevenson, E. Quinten, R. Wilkes, S. and Herbrand, C. £4,682.20. Jan 2018 - July 2018. 
  • Increasing uptake of effective self-management education programmes for type 2 diabetes in multi-ethnic primary care settings. Programme Grants for Applied Research, NIHR. Davies, M (PI) et al, Hudson, N (CI). £2m. Nov 2015 - Oct 2020.
  • A feasibility study to inform the development of a multicentre randomised controlled trial of an asthma-tailored pulmonary rehabilitation programme versus usual care for individuals with severe asthma. Research for Patient Benefit Programme, NIHR. Evans, R (PI). Eglinton, E. Singh, S. Bradding, P. Apps, L. Martin, N. Green, R. Hudson, N. (CI) Povrod, I. £340K. Nov 2013 - Oct 2017.

Previous research projects:

  • A feasibility study to inform the design of a randomised controlled trial (RCT) to evaluate an interactive internet (web) based pulmonary rehabilitation programme. Research for Patient Benefit Programme, NIHR. PB-PG-0711-25127. Williams, J. (PI), Singh, S. Pulikottil-Jacob, R. Hudson, N. (qualitative consultant). £158K. Jan 2013-Jan 2015.
  • Endometriosis: Improving the Well-being of Couples. ESRC. ES/J003662/1. Culley (PI), Denny, Hudson (CI), Mitchell, Raine-Fenning. £89,228. 2011-13.
  • Increasing Physical Activity in Chronic Kidney Disease: The Patient Perspective. British Renal Society. Dr Alice Smith, Dr James Burton (PI), Dr Jo Byrne, Prof. Nigel Brunskill, Mrs Hannah Young. Dr Nicky Hudson (CI). £45K. Sept 2012-Aug 2013. 
  • Structured Education in Diabetes. NIHR Programme Development Grant. Prof Melanie Davies (PI), Prof. Kamlesh Khunti, Dr Marian Carey, Prof. L Culley, Prof M Johnson. Dr Nicky Hudson team member and PI for DMU work package. £100K. May 2012-April 2013.
  • Management and Interventions for Asthma. HSR programme, NIHR. Prof. M Lakhanpaul (PI), Prof. L Culley, Prof. M Johnson, Dr. D Bird, Prof. Jonathon Grigg, Mrs Narynder Johal, Dr Noelle Robertson, Mrs Melanie McFeeters. Dr Nicky Hudson team member and PI for DMU work package. £334K. Sept 2010- Feb 13. 
  • Barriers and Motivators to Implementation of an Intradialytic Exercise Programme. British Renal Society. Dr Alice Smith (PI), Dr James Burton, Dr Jo Byrne, Dr Noelle Robertson, Dr Nicky Hudson (CI) and Prof John Feehally. £18,775. Sept 2011-Aug 2012.
  • A Systematic Review of the Literature on Asthma and South Asians. Asthma UK. Dr Monica Lakhanpaul (PI), Dr Deborah Bird, Prof Lorraine Culley, Prof Mark Johnson. Project advisor. £27K. Oct 2010-April 2011. 
  • The Educational Experiences of Muslim Students on Pre-Registration Nursing and Midwifery Programmes East Midlands Healthcare Workforce Deanery, Dr Sue Dyson (PI), Prof. Lorraine Culley, Dr Nicky Hudson. June 2010-July 2011.
  • Transnational Reproduction. An Exploratory Study of UK Residents who Travel Abroad for Fertility Treatment (TRANSREP)ESRC, RES 000-22-3390. Culley (PI), Hudson, Blyth, Pacey, Rapport, Norton. £99,844. 1 March 2009 – 30 Nov 2010.
  • Regional Evaluation of the Pacesetters Programme (PACEVAL) Leicester City Primary Care Trust. Prof. Mark Johnson (PI), Prof Lorraine Culley, Ms Jennie Fleming, Dr Nicky Hudson, Dr Fenglin Guo. £78,946.81. May 2008 – October 2009.
  • Palliative Care for Children and Young People in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland: An Evaluation of Parents/Carers’ and Young People’s Perspectives of Service Provision. (PALLCARE) Leicester City West Primary Care Trust, L. Culley & N Hudson. £15K. February – September 2006.
  • Evaluation of Patient Information resources on Osteomalacia in Asian Languages (ARCOST) Arthritis Research Campaign, Prof. Mark Johnson (PI), Prof. Lorraine Culley, Dr. Ash Samanta, Dr Fenglin Guo, Dr Nicky Hudson. 2005-2006. 
  • Public Perceptions of Gamete Donation in British South Asian Communities (GAMDON)ESRC, RES-160-25-0044. Prof. Lorraine Culley (PI), Prof. Mark Johnson, Prof. Frances Rapport, Dr Adi Bharadwaj. Dr Nicky Hudson, project researcher. £46, 577. April 05 – March 06. 
  • Ethnicity Infertility and Reproductive Technologies. International Symposium funded by ESRC, Science and Society Programme. Co-convenor with Prof. Lorraine Culley & Dr. Floor van Rooij. £7K. Nottingham, September 2006.
  • Improving the Access of Ethnic Minority Visually Impaired People to Appropriate Services: Building a Supported Community Referral System (OV2) Thomas Pocklington Trust, Prof. Mark Johnson (PI) et al. Nicky Hudson, team member. 2003-2004.
  • Europe's Migrants and Human Tissue Donation - ESF Exploratory Workshop (EUMIDON) European Science Foundation. Prof Mark Johnson (PI), Prof. Lorraine Culley, Dr Nicky Hudson. September 2004.
  • A Study of the Provision of Infertility Services to South Asian Communities (ASFERT) NHS Trent Region, Prof. Lorraine Culley (PI), Prof. Mark Johnson, Prof. Frances Rapport, Dr Savita Katbamna. Dr Nicky Hudson, project researcher. £100K. January 2002 – March 2004.

Internally funded research project information

  • Visualising Reproduction in Medical, Social and Historical Contexts: An Interdisciplinary Inquiry. De Montfort University's Revolving Investment Fund. Pichel, B (PI) and Hudson, N (CI). £2,410. Nov 2017 - July 2018. 

  • ENDOPART 2: developing a knowledge exchange partnership and improving support in endometriosis. De Montfort University's Higher Education Innovation Fund. Hudson, N (PI). Oct 2015 - July 2016.

  • Egg Donation in Europe: an international workshop. De Montfort University's Revolving Investment Fund. Hudson, N (PI). Oct 2014 - July 2015.

  • European network for research on men, in/fertilities and assisted conception. De Montfort University's Revolving Investment Fund. Culley, L (PI), Hudson, N (CI), Norton, W (CI). Oct 2011 - July 2012.

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