Dr Wendy Norton

Job: VC 2020 Senior Lecturer in Health and Social Care (Sexual Health)

Faculty: Health and Life Sciences

School/department: School of Nursing and Midwifery

Research group(s): Centre for Reproduction and NMRC

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

T: +44 (0)116 201 3810

E: wnorton@dmu.ac.uk

W: www.dmu.ac.uk/hls

 

Personal profile

Wendy Norton is a VC2020 Senior Lecturer in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at De Montfort University where she specialises in sexual and reproductive health and women’s health care.  She worked as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Assisted Reproduction for 14 years before moving into academia. Her research interests include gender, sexuality, sexual health and HIV, reproduction and experiences of ART use amongst members of LGBT communities.

Publications and outputs 

  • An exploration of how women in the UK perceive the provision of care received in an early pregnancy assessment unit: an interpretive phenomenological analysis
    An exploration of how women in the UK perceive the provision of care received in an early pregnancy assessment unit: an interpretive phenomenological analysis Furber, L.; Norton, Wendy Objective The objective of the study was to explore how women experience care within an early pregnancy assessment unit (EPAU) and how they are helped to understand, reconcile and make sense of their loss and make informed decisions about how their care will be managed following a first trimester miscarriage. Design This was a single centre, prospective qualitative study. An interpretive phenomenological analysis approach was used to interpret the participants’ meanings of their experiences. It is an ideographic approach that focuses in depth on a small set of cases to explore how individuals make sense of a similar experience. Setting An EPAU in a large teaching hospital in the Midlands that provides care to women in their early pregnancy, including those experiencing pregnancy loss. Participants A purposive sample of 10 women were recruited to this study. All of the women were either miscarrying at the time of this study or had miscarried within the previous few weeks. Results Six superordinate themes in relation to women’s experiences of miscarriage were identified: (1) the waiting game, (2) searching for information, (3) management of miscarriage: no real choice, (4) the EPAU environment, (5) communication: some room for improvement and (6) moving on. Conclusions This study found that improvements are required to ensure women and their partners receive a streamlined, informative, supportive and continuous package of care from the point they first see their general practitioner or midwife for support to being discharged from the EPAU. The provision of individualised care, respect for women’s opinions and appropriate clinical information is imperative to those experiencing miscarriage to help them gain a degree of agency within an unfamiliar situation and one in which they feel is out of their control.
  • Nurses’ experiences of undertaking fertility-related discussions with Teenagers and Young Adults with cancer: an interpretive phenomenological analysis
    Nurses’ experiences of undertaking fertility-related discussions with Teenagers and Young Adults with cancer: an interpretive phenomenological analysis Norton, Wendy; Wright, E.; Geary, Martyn Aims: To explore and interpret nurses’ experiences, feelings and associated meanings attached to undertaking fertility-related discussions with teenagers and young adults with cancer. To advance an understanding of factors which facilitate or hinder such discussions, in order to progress clinical practice. Background: Improved cancer treatments have increased survival rates for many teenagers and young adults. However, as a side-effect of treatment, infertility may result. International and UK studies suggest this patient population may not be provided with adequate opportunities to discuss this important issue. Little is known about nurses’ experiences of undertaking fertility-related discussions. Design: Qualitative Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis. Methods: Eleven semi-structured interviews were conducted between February-May 2016 with purposively selected nurses working in a Teenage Cancer Trust Unit within a UK hospital. Interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data were analysed using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis. Findings: Nurses experienced a perceived lack of knowledge resulting in avoidance of raising fertility issues. Nurses expressed a specific need for more knowledge and education which was viewed as an essential pre-requisite to their participation in discussions. The limited time frame for female patients to preserve fertility prior to commencement of treatment was felt to inhibit both fertility-related discussion and fertility preservation. Conclusion: On-going education and support for nurses may ensure teenage and young adult cancer patients’ reproductive needs are met. Nurses need to consider ways to ensure female patients benefit from improved information regarding infertility risks and preservation options to support their reproductive needs. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version.
  • Gay Men and Surrogacy: Navigating Boundaries in the Procreative Realm
    Gay Men and Surrogacy: Navigating Boundaries in the Procreative Realm Norton, Wendy Desire and motivation to parent has often been conceptualised as a women’s reproductive concern whilst relatively little is known about men’s reproductive desires, reproductive decision making and reproductive experiences. Gay men have specifically been represented as uninterested in children and parenting, yet an increasingly number of same-sex male couples are exploring the possibility of surrogacy as a means of creating a family. To date, no studies have explicitly explored men’s use of surrogacy within the UK context where gamete donation is highly regulated and commercial surrogacy is illegal. This study employed a qualitative, intrepretivist epistemology to explore the factors that influence UK resident men’s desire and motivation for parenthood, why men choose surrogacy over other family building options and their experiences as they navigate the surrogacy journey. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews with 21 gay men and 15 key stakeholders and analysed using thematic analysis informed by theoretical concepts of procreative consciousness and procreative responsibility (Marsiglio, 1991), micro-aggressions (Sue, 2010), and Critical Kinship Studies (Krolokke et al, 2016; Riggs & Peel, 2016). The findings reveal that a variety of interrelated factors, including learning of different parenting options, spending time with children, and the visibility of “role-models” enabled men’s procreative consciousness to emerge, and served as triggers to motivate them to act on this desire. Participants’ accounts depicted surrogacy as a complex and challenging route to parenthood, but one which offered men the possibility of a genetically-related child who could live with them permanently in their own family unit. Surrogacy required careful planning, decision-making, and a great deal of forethought as men considered and negotiated third-party input to help them create their families. Many of the challenges men faced in their pursuit of surrogacy were associated with healthcare professionals’ lack of familiarity and experience with surrogacy and its legal position within the UK. Central to the findings in this study is the importance of the socio-cultural context. This thesis argues that gay men’s motivation to parent and their experiences of surrogacy are shaped by the changing landscape of social, legal and technological possibilities within a society that privileges heterosexual parenting. This study presents the original concept of procreative boundaries to examine the broader multi-layered structural parameters within which gay men are able to realise their procreative consciousness and enact procreative responsibility in order to achieve parenthood and be recognised as legitimate parents.
  • Navigating UK Surrogacy Law: Gay Men’s Journeys to Parenthood
    Navigating UK Surrogacy Law: Gay Men’s Journeys to Parenthood Norton, Wendy Technological advances have revolutionised the field of reproduction, giving rise to growing numbers of people worldwide utilising surrogacy arrangements as a method of family building. UK surrogacy law remains embedded in 1980s legislation. Whilst recent changes to UK parenthood law have removed some of the structural barriers to parenting via surrogacy, current laws do not adequately reflect the rapidly changing realities of surrogacy within the 21st century. It has been suggested that this may be fuelling an increase in travel to countries with well-established commercial surrogacy programmes, enforceable surrogacy agreements and less restrictive legal requirements. Drawing on interviews from my PhD study of gay men’s use of surrogacy to achieve parenthood, this seminar will present participants’ accounts of the tensions created by the present UK surrogacy law and the way it impacted upon their procreative decision-making. The recommended changes to UK legalities that they suggested to ease this pathway to parenthood for future commissioning parents will also be discussed. These findings contribute to the on-going campaign to reappraise UK surrogacy law to ensure surrogacy practice is fit for purpose in meeting the needs of modern families.
  • Nurse-led Intrauterine insemination Programmes
    Nurse-led Intrauterine insemination Programmes Norton, Wendy This conference session will cover aspects of advanced and specialist practice from the UK perspective, building on the work of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Women’s Health Forum. The presentation will discuss the role fertility nurse specialists play in supporting and guiding couples accessing assisted reproduction, the key issues involved in a nurse-led intrauterine insemination programme, and the training and competencies needed to undertake this role.
  • Endometriosis cllinical nurse specialists
    Endometriosis cllinical nurse specialists Norton, Wendy This conference session will cover aspects of advanced and specialist practice from the UK perspective, building on the work of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Women’s Health Forum. The presentation explores the introduction of the Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) in endometriosis, describes the RCN project examining the role components, and discusses some preliminary research findings relating to issues that these CNSs have experienced.
  • Sexuality and the Older Woman
    Sexuality and the Older Woman Tremayne, P.; Norton, Wendy Sexual health is a key public health issue. The older woman faces a number of changes to their sexual health, wellbeing and sexuality. These changes result in many older women having to adapt to a series of complex transitions that can be challenging. This article aims to identify and explore some of these changes and how they can have a significant impact on women’s quality of life. Nurses play an important role in assessing and helping women to manage normal and pathological age changes in order to improve the sexual health of older women and ensure they receive the advice and support needed at this stage of their life. 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.
  • A Survey of the Endometriosis Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) Role in British Society for Gynaecological Endoscopy (BSGE) Registered Centres.
    A Survey of the Endometriosis Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) Role in British Society for Gynaecological Endoscopy (BSGE) Registered Centres. Norton, Wendy; Mitchell, H.; Holloway, Debby Endometriosis is a life challenging disorder that affects over 1.5 million women in the UK – around 1 in 10 women (Royal College of Nursing, 2015a). Given the uncertain and enigmatic nature of the condition and an average of 7.5 years from the onset of symptoms to diagnosis, endometriosis has a significant impact on women’s lives across a wide range of domains, including family life, work and social life, and quality of life more generally. Endometriosis not only has physical implications but can lead to significant amounts of distress amongst women. A patient-centred approach is required to manage this condition, for which there is no cure. The role of the Endometriosis CNS is complex and demands a range of clinical, management and leadership skills. This role represents one of the first health service provision commissions to have stipulated that a service must have a nurse within the team. It is recognised that as this is a developing role, not all nurses have the full skills set required to meet all components outlined in the Royal College of Nursing skills and knowledge framework, and anecdotal evidence suggests there is disparity amongst the CNS roles across BSGE centres. However, this new post has yet to be evaluated. Our study will be the first to explore the Endometriosis CNS role and the perceived benefits of this role for patient care. This presentation reports the findings from a nationwide survey of CNSs in BSGE centres exploring the current roles and responsibilities being undertaken. This study will add to the portfolio of endometriosis research currently being undertaken by the DMU Centre for Reproduction Research.
  • Gay men's journeys to parenthood via surrogacy: an exploratory study of UK residents
    Gay men's journeys to parenthood via surrogacy: an exploratory study of UK residents Norton, Wendy; Hudson, Nicky; Fish, Julie; Culley, Lorraine Oral presentation (O-284) at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology, 32nd Annual Meeting, Helsinki, Finland, 3-6th July 2016
  • Cross-border assisted reproduction: a qualitative account of UK travellers' experiences
    Cross-border assisted reproduction: a qualitative account of UK travellers' experiences Hudson, Nicky; Culley, Lorraine; Blyth, E.; Norton, Wendy; Pacey, A.; Rapport, F. Surveys on patients’ experiences of cross-border fertility treatment have reported a range of positive and challenging features. However, the number of such studies is limited and there is no detailed qualitative account of the experiences of UK patients who travel overseas for fertility treatment. The present study used a cross-sectional, qualitative design and in-depth interviews. Fifty-one participants (41 women and 10 men, representing 41 treatment ‘cases’) participated in semi-structured interviews. The experiences reported were broadly positive with a large proportion of participants (39 cases, 95%) citing a favourable overall experience with only 2 cases (5%) reporting a more negative experience. Thematic analysis revealed six major categories and 20 sub-categories, which described the positive and challenging aspects of cross border fertility travel. The positive aspects were represented by the categories: ‘access’, ‘control’, ‘care and respect’. The more challenging aspects were categorised as ‘logistics and coordination of care’, ‘uncertainty’ and ‘cultural dissonance’. The study confirms findings from others that despite some challenges, there is a relatively high level of patient satisfaction with cross-border treatment with participants able to extend the boundaries of their fertility-seeking trajectories and in some cases, regain a sense of control over their treatment. 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.

Click here to view a full listing of Wendy Norton's publications and outputs.

Research interests/expertise

  • Women’s Health Care
  • Gynaecology
  • Sexuality
  • Infertility and Assisted Reproduction
  • Contraception
  • Sexual Health and HIV

Areas of teaching

  • Sexual Health
  • Contraception
  • Assisted Conception
  • Gynaecology
  • Women’s Health
  • Complementary Therapies

Membership of external committees

Membership of professional associations and societies

Committee memebr on the Women’s Health Forum Steering Committee (RCN)

Conference attendance

Norton, W, “An exploratory study of gay men seeking surrogacy to achieve parenthood – work in progress”. Reproduction Research Group Seminar Series. De Montfort University, Leicester, 3rd June 2015

Hudson, N. Culley, L. Norton, W, “Bio-Sociality and the Negotiation of Diagnosis in Cross-Border Infertility Treatment" at the XVIII ISA World Congress of Sociology in Japan on July 13-19, 2014.

Culley, L; Hudson, N; Norton, W; Law C. Religion, Infertility and Infertility Treatment.  Second Annual Conference on Medicine and Religion in Chicago on May 28-30, 2013.

Hudson N, Culley L, Norton W ‘Online communities of hope. Bio-sociality and the negotiation of overseas fertility treatment’, paper presented to the British Sociological Association Human Reproduction Study Group Annual Conference. Milton Keynes,15 June 2011

Woodward B J, Norton W J, Almeida P & Gilling-Smith C (2011) Inconsistencies in the treatment of patients with blood-borne viruses: an audit of British IVF clinics, oral presentation at the 27th Annual Meeting of ESHRE, Stockholm, Sweden, 3July – 6 July 2011

Woodward B. Gilling-Smith C. Almeida P, Norton W. Blood-borne Viruses: An audit of treating viral positive patients and perceived risks in UK fertility clinics. Oral presentation at Fertility 2011 Conference, Dublin, 4-6 January 2011

Woodward B. Gilling-Smith C, Almeida P, Norton W. Inconsistency in Processing Gametes from Viral Positive Patients in the UK. Poster to be presented at the British Andrology Society Annual Meeting, Macclesfield, 9-10 November 2010

Culley L. Hudson N. Blyth E. Norton W. Rapport F, Pacey A. Cross border reproductive care: The Research Evidence. Poster to be presented at the 13th Congress on Controversies in Obstetrics, Gynecology and Infertility (COGI), Berlin, November 2010.

Culley L. Hudson N. Blyth E. Norton W. Pacey A. Rapport F. ‘Travelling abroad for fertility treatment: an exploratory study of UK residents seeking cross-border care’ oral presentation at the 26th Annual Meeting of ESHRE, Rome, Italy, 27 June – 30 June, 2010

Culley, Hudson, Pacey, Rapport, Blyth, Norton ‘Fertility Tourism? Discourses of Cross-border Reproductive Care’, at the 10th Annual Interdisciplinary Research Conference "Transforming Healthcare through Research & Education" 4- 6 November 2009, Trinity College, University of Dublin.

Norton ‘Ethical Issues in Reproductive Health & Infertility’, paper delivered at the International Nursing Conference on Reproductive Health & Infertility, 23 – 26 September 2009, Las Vegas, Nevada, US.

Norton, Feehan ‘”Double Dutch”: making sex safer with education and practice’, poster presentation at the Royal College of Nursing Sexual Health Conference, June 2006, London.

Externally funded research grants information

The Sociology of Technologically Mediated Reproduction - Postgraduate Conference. The British Sociological Association. May 2014. Co-applicant with K Baldwin, C Law and C Weis (PhD students withing the Reproducrion Research Group). £1000.

Transnational Reproduction. An exploratory study of UK residents who travel abroad for fertility treatment (TRANSREP) ESRC, 1 March 2009 – 30 Nov 2010. Co- applicant with Culley, Hudson et al. £99,844.09

Internally funded research project information

ENDOPART 2: developing a knowledge exchange partenrship and improving support in endometriosis. DMU HEIF Fund. October 2015-July 2016.  Co-applicant with L Culley, N Hudson, H Mitchell and C Law.

European network for research on men, in/fertilities and assisted conception. DMU Revolving Investment Fund. October 2011-July 2012. Co-applicant with L Culley & N Hudson.

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