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August 2015

New Fathers and Mothers Study led by Prof Claire Hughes - Garden Party at Newnham College to thank families who are taking part in the study. Pictures: Cambridge Evening News.

'Single women aren't scrambling to use IVF - and the media focus on them is irresponsible', Dr Sophie Zadeh, Huff Post Blog.

Congratulations to Dr Sophie Zadeh, Dr Tabitha Freeman and Prof Susan Golombok whose abstract, 'Quality of parenting, mother and child wellbeing and 'daddy talk' in single parent families formed through the use of donor insemination', has been selected by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) to receive the 'Mental Health PG Prize Paper'. These awards are given in recognition of outstanding research. Abstract available here.

Dr Vasanti Jadva gave a talk at the 23rd Nordic Fertility Society Meeting in Reykjavik, Iceland, on 3 August on 'Telling the children after gamete donation and surrogacy'. 

June 2015

Dr Tabitha Freeman presented findings from our recent survey of men registered as online sperm donors on the connection website, Pride Angel, at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology 31st Annual Meeting in Lisbon, 14-17 June.

May 2015

The Centre for Family Research 'NewFAMS' team has launched a new website. You can learn all about the study and keep up-to-date with the latest news and findings from the study team. Click here for NewFAMS blog.

Professor Susan Golombok gave a talk at the Hay Festival on 24 May on 'Modern Families - are the kids alright?'. 

Jon Sutton reports on Professor Susan Golombok's talk at the British Psychological Society's Annual Conference.

New paper on 'Measuring the foundations of school readiness' (Claire Hughes, Irenee Daly, Sarah Foley, Naomi White and Rory T. Devine). For Press Release click here.

Child's best friend?

Matt Cassels had at least 10 pets when he was growing up and yet it had never occurred to him to think about how important his relationships with them were. Until he came to Cambridge and started working on a rich data set from The Toddlers Up Project led by Professor Claire Hughes.

Dr Gail Ewing gave a presentation on 'Sharing Bad News' at the European Association for Palliative Care Conference on 9 May in Copenhagen. Gail's presentation was very well-received.  See link.

Professor Susan Golombok gave a Keynote presentation on her new book, 'Modern Families: Parents and Children in New Family Forms' at the British Psychological Society Annual Conference on 5 May in Liverpool.

March 2015

Professor Susan Golombok on BBC R4 Woman's Hour talking to Jenni Murray about New Families - 'do gay men make better dads? How close are children born through surrogacy to their parents?'.  Listen here.

Professor Susan Golombok press articles, March 2015:

'Kids thrive just as well in non-traditional families' (Toronto Star, 23/03/15)

'The Rocket Man is right to go ballistic - gay fathers are best' (Sunday Times, 22/03/15)

'Supportive families help children to flourish no matter what' (The Independent, 12/03/15)

Professor Susan Golombok's book 'Modern Families: Parents and Children in New Family Forms' published on 12 March.

The Centre was very well-represented at the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) Meeting in Philadelphia, USA, 19-21 March. Amanda Aldercotte, Nik Darshane, Dr Rory Devine, Sarah Foley, and Dr Naomi White presented posters; Dr Lucy Blake gave a talk on 'Parenting and the Psychological Development of Children born to Gay Fathers by Assisted Reproduction'. Further details on the SRCD Meeting here.

Professor Susan Golombok gave a lecture at the University of the Third Age in Cambridge on Wednesday 4 March. The lecture was based on her new book, 'Modern Families: Parents and Children in New Family Forms'.

February 2015

Launch of Nuffield Council on Bioethics Report, 'The collection, linking and use of data in biomedical research and health care: ethical issues'.  Professor Martin Richards chaired the NCoB Working Party which produced the report. For a summary of the report, please click here.

Sheila Ernst (1941-2015)

It is with great sadness we record the death of Sheila Ernst (Young) who carried out graduate work in the Centre in the late 1960s. Her project concerned the politics of abortion and pregnancy outside marriage. As part of this, she interviewed young unmarried women residing in the local mother and baby home in Bateman Street where they spent their pregnancy and gave birth, after which their children were removed for adoption.

Sheila was very much engaged in the radical feminist politics and life of the time, living with her then husband (Bob Young) and her young children in the notorious Chesterton commune.

Coming from a family of psychotherapists, Sheila became a pioneer of radical and feminist psychotherapy and later a leading group analyst. Moving to a collective household in London she helped to create Red Therapy in 1974, a group aiming to democratise therapy and empower people to form their own skilled self-help groups (S. Ernst and L. Goodison. In Our Own Hands. A Book of Self Help Therapy. Women’s Press, 1981). She later worked for many years at the Women’s Therapy Centre where she developed forms of individual psychoanalysis that addressed the internalised aspects of women’s oppression and disadvantage. Sheila argued that psychological differentiation between mothers and daughters was impeded by social factors, leading to women’s fears of autonomy, achievement and other’s envy. She taught at Birkbeck College, London where she set up a pioneering master’s degree in group analysis.

In her last years Sheila suffered from a progressive and crippling neurodegenerative disorder. She ended her own life at Dignitas in Switzerland. She approached death as she had lived, honestly and determinedly and engaging her family and friends in the complexities of the decisions, always receptive to their feelings.

A fuller obituary of Sheila appears in the Guardian (25 April 2015) written by Joanna Ryan, her life long friend and a colleague at the Centre in those early years.

January 2015

Congratulations to Dr Keri Wong who has been successful in obtaining a Clare Hall Betty Behrens Fellowship. This fellowship is funded to encourage research into the causes of, and/or ways of mitigating, those forms of anti-social behaviour (including such as result from personality defects and disorders) which cause severe unhappiness to, and/or frustrate the talents or capacities of, those who suffer from them. Keri's work on social mistrust fits very neatly into this brief.

Professor Susan Golombok gave two lectures at the University of Leiden:

'Children and families in the 21st century' at the University of Leiden Law School. and 'Lesbian and gay families: Are the kids alright?' at the University of Leiden Department of Child and Family Studies.

Dr Sophie Zadeh and Professor Martin Richards organised a workshop on 'Eugenics: Critical historical and ethical reflections' in Cambridge on 21 January 2015. Speakers included Professor Alison Bashford, Dr Veronique Mottier, Professor Martin Richards, Professor Stephen Wilkinson, and Dr Sophie Zadeh.

December 2014

Congratulations to Sophie Zadeh who passed her viva with flying colours. Well done Sophie!

Congratulations to Adelle Pushparatnam, Naomi White and Keri Wong who all passed their vivas with minor corrections. Well done all!

November 2014

Professor Susan Golombok gave a Keynote Lecture on surrogacy at the 'Men Having Babies' 10th Annual Conference in New York on 2 November 2014.

Dr Leire Salazar (together with Hector Cebolla and Jonas Radl) has been awarded the latest (2013) edition of la Caixa Prize in the Social Sciences for their manuscript Aprendizaje y ciclo vital: la desigualdad de oportunidades desde la educacion preescolar hasta la edad adulta [Learning and the Life Course: Inequality of Educational Opportunities from Preschool to Adulthood]. The book analyses, for a large sample of rich countries, inequalities by social background in several indicators of learning and school performance in the various stages of the academic trajectories of individuals. The manuscript is expected to be published in three languages and will be presented to the media before the end of 2014.

The aim of the la Caixa Prize is to reward analysis and debate on the transformations that contemporary society faces. This could relate to social, environmental, technological and health related challenges, or a combination of this. la Caixa Banking Foundation is the largest foundation in continental Europe and the world’s third largest.

October 2014

Professor Susan Golombok gave a talk about her research on 'New Family Forms' as part of a discussion on 'Challenges to sexual identities: global perspectives' at the Festival of Ideas, University of Cambridge, 25 October. 

Professor Susan Golombok gave the Annual Keynote Lecture on 'Lesbian and gay families: What do we know about the quality of parenting and the socio-emotional development of the children?' at the School of Social Work, University of East Anglia, 16 October 2014.

September 2014

Helen Statham, Gail Ewing, Claire Hughes, Sarah Foley, Lucy Blake and John Appleby took part in the Chariots of Fire relay race to raise funds for the Arthur Rank Hospice Charity on Sunday 21 September. The team raised the magnificent sum of £900!

Karin Eklund, who designed all the wonderful illustrations for the Centre for Family Research website, has launched her new website:

August 2014

We are delighted to announce the publication of our new book, ‘Relatedness in Assisted Reproduction: Families, Origins and Identities’, edited by Tabitha Freeman, Susanna Graham, Fatemeh Ebtehaj and Martin Richards and published by Cambridge University Press.

This multidisciplinary book brings together an international team of academics and clinicians to explore the central issue of relatedness in assisted reproduction. Drawing on social science, legal and bioethical perspectives and the latest empirical research, this book considers questions raised by sperm, egg and embryo donation and surrogacy about the meaning of family, kinship and identity. This book resulted from a workshop we held at the Brocher Foundation, Geneva, and was produced as part of a Wellcome Trust Enhancement Award in Biomedical Ethics. We would like to thank all those involved in this project. 

July 2014

Professor Susan Golombok gave a Keynote Lecture at the University of Malta on Friday, 16 July as part of Malta's celebration of their newly introduced same-sex marriage legislation.

Keri Wong, Daniel Freeman (Oxford), and Claire Hughes' paper 'Suspicious young minds: paranoia and mistrust in 8- to 14-year-olds in the UK and Hong Kong'. 

June 2014

Dr Tabitha Freeman gave an invited talk on 'Psychosocial aspects of gamete donation' for a pre-congress workshop at the ESHRE 30th annual meeting in Munich.

April 2014

Dr Susanna Graham on BBC R4 Woman's Hour talking to Jenni Murray about why more women are choosing to start a family without a partner and the implications for children born by donor insemination.

Listen now

Oldie but goodie?

Martin Richards, John Davis and Cliff Roberton's edited book, 'Parent-Baby Attachment in Premature Infants' which was first published in 1983 is to be re-issued as part of the Routledge - Psychology Press new Psychology Revivals Programme. This aims to return distinguished, but currently out of print, psychology books back into print.

March 2014

Dr Vasanti Jadva and Susan Imrie gave talks at the Families through Surrogacy conference in Winsdor.

Researchers from the Centre for Family Research organised a Science Week event for children and parents: 'What makes a family?'. There was lots for children to do as well as talks by researchers at the Centre. More information about the event can be found here

This October an exciting new three-year international study will begin at the Centre for Family Research. The ‘New Families’ study will examine infant development and parent-child interactions across the first two years of life, with funding from an internationally competitive Open Research Area grant from the ESRC, NIH and NWO (Value). This collaborative study draws on the expertise of Professor Clancy Blair (New York University) and Professor Judi Mesman (Leiden University). Professor Claire Hughes, Dr Rory Devine, Dr Rosie Ensor and Ms Sarah Foley will lead the UK arm of the study. 

To learn more about the study please click here 

February 2014

Professor Susan Golombok spoke on 'The Changing Dynamics of the Family' on 27 February in New York at an event hosted by Cornerstone Capital Group, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, Coda leadership and CBST.

The Centre's study of adoptive gay father families was rated 'Outstanding' by the ESRC.

Dr Nothando Ngwenya awarded first prize for the SBN poster at the 12th Annual BTOG Conference 2014. Poster: 'Sharing bad news understanding the communication processes of a lung cancer diagnosis'.

Sophie Zadeh has now been officially elected to a highly competitive Junior Research Fellowship at Corpus - very well deserved and very well done!!!

Dr Tabitha Freeman: invited presentation on 'Donor identification and the best interests of the child: a social science perspective' at a symposium for interdisciplinary and empirical bioethics , 'On gametes and guidelines', at the Brocher Foundation, Geneva.

January 2014

Dr Lucy Blake gave a presentation entitled 'We're just a normal family, like any other: Family Relationships and Child Development in Families created using ARTs' at the Nordic Fertility Society Conference in Haugesund, Norway.

November 2013

Earlier this month, 10 members of the Centre travelled to Chile to participate in events relating to the changing family. We visited Fines Terre University where Susan Golombok gave a lecture on single-mother families; Universidad Diego Portales where Susan Golombok and Martin Richards gave lectures at a symposium on Bioethics, Assisted Reproduction and the Family, and Lucy Blake, Sophie Zadeh, John Appleby, Susan Imrie, Susanna Graham, Helen Statham, Tabitha Freeman and Vasanti Jadva gave presentations on their research as part of an International Workshop on Medically Assisted Reproduction and the Family; and the 3rd International Conference on Adoption where Susan Golombok spoke about the outcomes for children in new family forms. We are very grateful to our hosts for the stimulating exchange of ideas and for their generous hospitality. We shall have fond memories of this trip for a very long time.

October 2013
Judith Ennew (1944-2013)
Judith Ennew died peacefully at her home in Malaysia on the 4 October 2013. Judith, a social anthropologist, was a senior research associate at the Centre over many years. As an activist and researcher she worked tirelessly for children's rights, specialising on issues concerning working children, street children and child sexual exploitation over several continents. She was a moving spirit for the Childwatch International Research Network of institutions that collaborate in research for the purpose of children's rights and improving children's well-being. In recent years she has lived and worked in Malaysia, heading Knowing Children, a project which aimed to improve information worldwide for designing policies and programmes for children.
Dr Lucy Blake (panelist): 'Speaking to your children about surrogacy and gay parenting' at The 9th Annual New York Men Having Babies Surrogacy Seminar & Gay Parenting Expo.
September 2013

Congratulations to Professor Claire Hughes for winning the 2013 British Psychological Society Book Prize - Academic Monograph:

Social Understanding and Social Lives: From Toddlerhood through to the Transition to School’.

British Psychological Society 2013 Book Awards

Professor Susan Golombok gave a presentation entitled 'Three parent babies: Children born through mitochondrial DNA transfer' at the British Science Festival, Newcastle.
Sophie Zadeh spoke at the Alternative Parenting Show, London.
June 2013
Dr Tabitha Freeman spoke at the Cheltenham Science Festival.
Professor Susan Golombok gave a talk at the 'Want to be a parent show', Cardiff.
March 2013

Dr Lucy Blake was interviewed for a radio documentary about families headed by gay and lesbian parents ('Don't Say Gay') which was broadcast on Cam FM.

February 2013
Dr Tabitha Freeman gave a talk at an event organised by the Progress Educational Trust, held at University College London.
January 2013

Professor Martin Richards was appointed to chair a Working Party at the Nuffield Council on Bioethics on 'Collecting, linking, use and exploitation of biological and health data: ethical issues'. The Working Party aims to produce its report by late 2014. Professor Richards is also a member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics for the duration of the Working Party.
Archive News: March 2011

Bob Edwards the Early Years, talk by Martin Johnson

The Centre for Family Research hosted a packed lecture theatre in Cambridge on 8th March 2011 when Professor Martin Johnson gave a lecture based on the one he had delivered at the Nobel Symposium in December 2010. Afterwards a reception in Newnham College was attended by Ruth Edwards and members of Bob's family, staff from Bourn Hall, RBM Online, the Physiology Department and the Centre for Family Research, members of the public, and doctors and scientists from across the world including former members of Bob's lab such as Carol Readhead and Richard Gardner (two of Bob's grad students), Barbara Rankin and Caroline Blackwell (both Bob's secretaries in the past), Alan Handyside, David Griffin and Hester Pratt.

To listen to the talk, please click: 

To download the lecture, please click here