The phrase “women of reproductive age” (and sometimes “women of childbearing age”) is increasingly prevalent in the media, in health research, and in public health advisories. More specifically, since the 1970s, medical research investigating women’s preconception health and the rise of public policy to address so-called fetal rights has resulted in the uncritical acceptance of “women of childbearing age” as a legitimate group on which research can be conducted and public health policy can be implemented. This research (currently in its initial stages) aims to develop an understanding of the emergence of “women of childbearing age” as the subjects of contemporary public health policy and research, focusing on the Canadian context.
PATIENT GROUPS IN HEALTH POLICY MAKING
While there are clear benefits for patient groups to accept industry funding (often from the pharmaceutical industry), some research suggests the autonomy and integrity of patient groups may be compromised by financial relationships with commercial actors. This project focuses on the experiences of patient groups advocating for the public funding of in vitro fertilization to identify how they work to navigate these relationships and engage in ongoing advocacy to establish and (where applicable) to maintain funding. Using cross-provincial data, it also identifies varied approaches in different provinces, and the outcomes for both patient groups and provincial health policy.
CONTROLLING CONCEPTION: REGULATING ASSISTED HUMAN REPRODUCTION IN CANADA
Assisted reproductive technologies sit at the intersection of biotechnology and reproductive health care, raising important challenges for regulation that governments have been trying to address since the 1980s. This project explores the governance of assisted reproductive technologies in Canada, emphasizing the importance of often marginalized actors in relevant debates, including donor-conceived people, egg donors, surrogates, and LGBTQ people. This project includes a number of interventions: research on stakeholder participation in the development of Canada’s Assisted Human Reproduction Act; work on the ethical, political, economic, and sociological implications of “social egg freezing” and; a range of contributions aimed to improve the quality of care for egg donors in Canada and abroad.