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Dr Sophie Zadeh

Junior Research Fellow in Social Psychology, Corpus Christi College

Office Phone: (+44) 01223 331967


I joined the Centre for Family Research in 2011 as an ESRC-funded PhD student in Social and Developmental Psychology. Prior to my PhD, I completed the MPhil in Social and Developmental Psychology at Cambridge, and before that, I was an undergraduate at Cambridge. I graduated in 2010 with a first class BA (Hons) degree in Social and Political Sciences.

Research Interests

I am a social psychologist interested in meaning-making around assisted reproductive technologies, their users, and uses. My PhD thesis (2014) was supervised by Professor Susan Golombok. It investigated single women’s use of sperm donation in the UK, exploring mothers’ experiences, and their portrayal in the media, through the lens of social representations theory. 

My current research continues to investigate social representations of assisted reproduction using qualitative approaches. At present, I am focussed on developing innovative methodological tools with which to explore the thoughts, feelings and experiences of parents and children in different family types. 

For the academic year 2016-2017, I will lecture on the following papers: PBS9 (Psychology and Social Issues) and PBS11 (The Family).

Key Publications

Peer-reviewed publications

Zadeh, S. and Foster, J. (2016). From ‘Virgin Births’ to ‘Octomom’: Representations of single motherhood via sperm donation in the UK news. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 26(6), 551-566.

Zadeh, S. (2016). Disclosure of donor conception in the era of non-anonymity: Safeguarding and promoting the interests of donor-conceived individuals? Human Reproduction31(11), 2416-2420.

Freeman, T., Zadeh, S., Smith, V. and Golombok, S. (2016). Disclosure of sperm donation: A comparison between solo mother and two-parent families with identifiable donors. RBM Online, 33(5), 592-600.

Zadeh, S., Freeman, T. and Golombok, S. (2016). ‘What does donor mean to a four-year-old?’: Initial insights into young children’s perspectives in solo mother families. Children & Society, DOI: 10.1111/chso.12181.

Zadeh, S., Imrie, S. and Braverman, A. (2016). ‘Choosing’ a donor: Parents’ perspectives on current and future donor information provision in clinically-assisted reproduction. In S. Golombok, R. Scott, S. Wilkinson, M. Richards and J. Appleby (Eds.) Regulating Reproductive Donation (pp. 311-333). Cambridge University Press.

Golombok, S., Zadeh, S., Imrie, S., Smith, V. and Freeman, T. (2016). Single mothers by choice: Mother–child relationships and children’s psychological adjustment. Journal of Family Psychology, 30(4), 409-418.

Zadeh, S., Freeman, T. and Golombok, S. (2016). Absence or presence? Complexities in the donor narratives of single mothers using sperm donation. Human Reproduction, 31(1), 117-124.

Zadeh, S. (2014). Mitos y realidades de la donación de semen a madres sin pareja. In F. Zegers and S. Salas (Eds.), Bioética, Reproducción y Familia. Universidad Diego Portales.

Blake, L., Zadeh, S., Statham, H. and Freeman, T. (2014). Families created by assisted reproduction: Children’s perspectives. In T. Freeman, S. Graham, F. Ebtehaj and M. Richards (Eds.) Relatedness in assisted reproduction: Families, origins and identities (pp. 251-269). Cambridge University Press.

Zadeh, S., Freeman, T. and Golombok, S. (2013). Ambivalent identities of single women using sperm donationInternational Review of Social Psychology, 26(3), 97-123.


Online and other contributions

Zadeh, S. (2015). Single women aren't scrambling to use IVF - and the media focus on them is irresponsible. Huffington Post Blog. 

Zadeh, S. (2014). Facebook and Apple offering to pay for female employees to freeze their eggs is utterly misguided. Independent Voices

Zadeh, S. (2014). Fatherless families: Are they the future? Sociology Review24(2), 6-9.

Zadeh, S. (2013). ART in the freeze frame: Some reflections on ‘elective’ oocyte preservation. MaMSIE blog

Zadeh, S. (2013). New conceptions: Single mothers by sperm donationUniversity of Cambridge

Imrie, S. and Zadeh, S. (2012). Single women using donor insemination: Thoughts on the discussion of the latest findings from the Centre for Parenting Culture StudiesBionews, 679.