I am a doctoral student of Sociology in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco. My research interests include the sociology of health and medical sociology, social psychology, science and technology studies, the family, and gender.
My specific areas of interest include biomedical ethics; health care providers and the organization of medicine; mental health, reproductive health, and stigma; third party reproduction; adoption; reproductive health and gender; and non-traditional families.
Involved in reproductive justice movements for more than 15 years, I am an advocate striving to increase awareness of issues related to family formation, reproductive health, identity development, and non-traditional families. I am particularly interested in understanding how health care professionals influence family-building processes, access to care, and development of protocol in embryo and gamete donation programs. Throughout my work, which is rooted in feminist and social justice frameworks, I explore biomedical ethics and the organization of medicine at the intersection of gender and the family.
Master's Thesis at Columbia University "Family Matters: Secrecy, Belonging, and the Heteronormative Ideal in Adoption and Sperm Donor Conception"
Families have long been diverse and changing, and globalization and technological advancements are continuing to expand opportunities for family formation. Subsequently, the majority of families in the United States do not represent the traditional nuclear family ideology. However, it remains a prominent cultural fixture and the model against which we compare or construct families. Our social, medical, and legal structures of practice, such as two-parent-only birth certificates and the use of anonymously donated genetic material, reflect a limited family ideology, yet the actual structure of these families is much more complex and variable. Adopted and donor-conceived people are ideally situated to illuminate these complexities, including the social and biological dimensions of the family and the effects of various practices in adoption and third party reproduction. By drawing from in-depth interviews with adopted and donor-conceived adults, my research highlights the narratives of adopted and donor-conceived people, showing the impacts of secrecy, anonymity, or openness and implications for best practice as we build families. This research aims to add to scholarly and clinical conversations about reproduction and the family, helping to answer challenging questions about what matters when we embrace technology, make parents, and grow families.