Postgraduate Research

Studying with us

The Centre for Reproduction Research (CRR) welcomes applications from potential candidates who are interested in undertaking a PhD in the field of reproduction research. Broad topic areas may include for example: infertility and use of reproductive technologies including donation, freezing and surrogacy; cross-border reproductive travel; reproductive ageing; non-traditional family formations, and may draw on disciplines of sociology, psychology and science and technology studies. Please see the staff list for a full description of interests and topics.

If you are interested in the possibility of undertaking a PhD aligned to the Centre please contact Prof Nicky Hudson at for an informal discussion in the first instance.

For more information on postgraduate opportunities at De Montfort University visit the Doctoral College


Postgraduate Research

Members of the Centre are currently studying the following topics:

Current PhDs


  • Selling hope? Investigating the UK IVF industry and the case of fertility treatment add-ons - Victoria Lang.  The aim of this research is to explore the social, psychological and ethical issues around the various fertility treatment 'add-ons' which are available to IVF patients in the UK. The project will involve qualitative analysis of interviews with fertility industry professionals, as well as individuals who have experience of the treatments, to investigate how 'add-ons' are defined, communicated, and understood.  For further information contact Victoria Lang.  1st supervisor Prof Nicky Hudson, and 2nd supervisors Dr Cathy Herbrand and Dr Kylie Baldwin.


  • Exploring perceptions of reproductive timing within British South Asian communities: A qualitative study - Sasha Loyal.  The aim of the research is to explore the perceptions of women from British South Asian communities regarding reproductive timing. This study will use semi-structured interviews and focus groups to consider the impact of a range of intersecting social and cultural attributes such as religion, culture, age, gender and educational and employment status. The sample will include UK born and first generation Indian and Bangladeshi migrant women to explore differing experiences of family formation and aims to contribute to the understanding to reproductive decision making amongst minority ethnic groups.  For further information contact Sasha Loyal. 1st supervisor Dr Helene Mitchell, and 2nd supervisors Prof Nicky Hudson and Dr Cathy Herbrand. 2016 – ongoing.


  • Reproductive timings: exploring men's perceptions and intentions - Caroline LawThe aim of this study is to investigate the perceptions of men regarding men's and women's reproductive timings, and to investigate their own hopes, expectations and intentions regarding when to have children. Semi-structured interviews have been conducted with 25 men who want or expect to have children in the future. The sample includes men across a range of ages, single men and men in relationships, and men of varying ethnicities, in order to explore the significance of these factors. The research will contribute to debates about reproductive timings, which currently focus largely on women. For further information contact Caroline Law. 1st supervisor Prof Nicky Hudson and 2nd supervisor Dr Sally Ruane. 2013 – ongoing.


Completed PhDs

  • Reproductive decision-making amongst women with Turner Syndrome - Kriss Fearon.  The aim of this research is to explore the social, psychological, legal and ethical issues attached to reproductive decision-making, parenthood and the use of assisted conception amongst women with Turner Syndrome. This qualitative study uses narrative methods to focus on the way women with Turner Syndrome describe and explain how they perceive and evaluate the potential of different reproductive choices, particularly with regard to the risks to the child and to themselves.  It also looks at the way parents make reproductive choices on behalf of their daughters with Turner Syndrome, and the impact of new technology on those choices. For further information contact Kriss Fearon.  1st supervisor Dr Cathy Herbrand and 2nd supervisor Prof Nicky Hudson. 2015 – 2020.


  • An interpretive exploration of obesity and childbearing - Rowena Doughty. This PhD aims to explore the psycho-social aspects of obese women’s experiences of childbearing, using a phenomenological framework. It will also capture obese women’s experiences of maternity services is, how these experiences influence both women’s and children’s health and well-being, and women’s interactions with healthcare professionals. The professional perspective will also be explored through capturing the experiences of health care professionals, especially midwives. This study aims to provide new insights into the personal, social and emotional perspectives that obese women experience during childbearing, which can be used to scrutinise and potentially influence midwifery practice and maternity care provision. For further information contact Rowena Doughty. 1st supervisor Dr Sally Ruane and 2nd supervisor Dr Tina Harris. 2010 – 2019.


  • Exploring women's and men's perspectives and experiences of Female Genital Cutting - Paris Connolly.  The aim of this research is to use a phenomenological approach to explore lived experiences and try to understand the reasons behind why FGC is practised and how relevant the practice is perceived in the UK in the 21st century. A secondary aim will be to develop an education and intervention programme. For further information contact Paris Connolly.  1st supervisor Dr Stephen Handsey, 2nd supervisor Dr Rosemary Garratt and Prof Martin Grootveld. 2014  – 2019.


  • An exploratory study of gay men seeking surrogacy to achieve parenthood -     Wendy Norton. This PhD investigates several different aspects of this phenomenon, using an exploratory approach based on a qualitative interpretivist epistemology. The research questions to be addressed are: what are the motivations and experiences of gay men who have considered, or are considering, parenting via surrogacy? Who or what are the key 'social agents' in the process and what roles do they play in facilitating or limiting the use of surrogacy by gay men? What are the implications for policy and practice in the UK healthcare system? For further information contact Wendy Norton or visit the study website. 1st supervisor Prof Nicky Hudson, 2nd supervisors Dr Julie Fish and Prof Lorraine Culley. 2011 – 2018.


  • The influence of an educational programme on pregnancy outcomes among obese, pregnant women in Kurdistan region of Iraq - Aveen Haji Mam. This study assesses the influence of an educational program on the pregnancy outcomes of obese women attending primary health centres in a large city in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. Through this the researcher compares pregnancy outcomes between obese women (BMI 30 and above) attending an educational programme (intervention group) with women who are obese and did not attend an educational programme(control) and those women of normal weight (BMI 20-25 known as the baseline group) did not attend an educational programme. Secondly, the study explores obese woman's experiences of an educational program and their perceptions or benefit to pregnancy outcomes. For further information contact Aveen Haji Mam. 1st supervisor Dr Tina Harris and 2nd supervisor Prof Mark Johnson. 2011 – 2018.


  • An exploratory study of the migration experience of women working as surrogates in Russia - Christina Weis. Using an ethnographic approach, this research explores commercial gestational surrogacy in Russia with a specific focus on the experience of migration and (long) distance commuting amongst women who work as gestational surrogates in St Petersburg and Moscow, (coming from other parts of Russia or from neighbouring countries). It explores women’s motivations, their migration/commuting experiences, the meaning of mobility, and the impact on women’s lives and occupational careers. This research engages and expands on Colen's (1995) conceptual framework of stratified reproduction and is one of the first in-depth empirical researches into commercial gestational surrogacy in the post-Soviet sphere. For further information contact Dr Christina Weis. 1st supervisor Prof Nicky Hudson and 2nd supervisor Dr Sally Ruane. 2013 – 2017.


  • An exploratory study of egg freezing for non-medical reasons - Kylie Baldwin. This research undertook an exploratory study to examine the public perception of social egg freezing; to identify potential user groups’ perceptions of, and intentions towards, this treatment; as well as to understand the experience of women who have used this form of assisted reproductive technology and their motivations for treatment. For further information contact Dr Kylie Baldwin. 1st supervisor Prof Nicky Hudson, 2nd supervisors Dr Helene Mitchell and Prof Lorraine Culley. 2011 – 2016.

Details of funded research projects can be found here.  

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