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Reproductive Sociology Research Group

Studying at Cambridge


Dr. Marcin Smietana


I am a research associate at ReproSoc, currently writing up my research on transnational IVF surrogacy between Europe and the US, queer kinship and reproductive justice.

Within the Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellowship of the European Union, I did fieldwork on surrogacy in the US, based from October 2014 through March 2016 at the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies of the University of California, Berkeley. Since April 2016 I have been based at the Reproductive Sociology Research Group, University of Cambridge (UK). Within this postdoc project (‘SurrogARTs: Assisted reproduction beyond the nation state and nuclear family? Transition to parenthood and negotiating relatedness in gay father families created through transnational surrogacy’), I have been looking at transnational surrogacy and reproductive travel from Europe to the US, as well as domestic surrogacy in the US. The project has been coordinated by the University of Cambridge and advised by Prof. Sarah Franklin at Cambridge and Prof. Charis Thompson at UC Berkeley.

Please see the project website at

Since 2011 I have also been a member of the AFIN (Adoptions, Families, Infancies) research group at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (Spain), within whose research project 'Adoptions and fosterages in Spain' I investigated transnational surrogacy from the Spanish commissioning parents' perspective. 

I completed my PhD in sociology at the Department of Sociological Theory, University of Barcelona (Spain) with the Doctor Europaeus mention in 2012. In my research-based dissertation I explored the question of how gender and family were constructed by Spanish gay father families both at home and in their social milieus such as schools, in order to see how and with what consequences potential differences between those two worlds were negotiated. From 2007 to 2010 I was a research fellow at the Department of Sociological Theory and the Centre of Research in Theories and Practices that Overcome Social Inequalities (CREA-UB), with the support of the FI fellowship of the Government of Catalonia and the European Social Fund for the Training of Research Staff. For three years at that time I was also an assistant teacher of sociology of education at the University of Barcelona.

In 2010 I was a visiting scholar at the Centre for Family Research of the University of Cambridge (UK). 

I received my MA degrees in sociology (2006), as well as in journalism and social communication (2004), at the Jagiellonian University in my native Cracow (Poland).

My research interests have revolved around the sociology of alternative families, sexualities and lifestyles, notably gay father families, including surrogacy and adoption. The latter have also led me to engage with the global perspective. Throughout this research I have followed qualitative and critical sociology and ethnography.

Key Publications

Smietana, M.; Thompson, Ch. & Twine, W. F. (2018). Introduction: Making and Breaking Families: Reading Queer Reproductions, Stratified Reproduction and Reproductive Justice Together. In: M. Smietana, & Ch. Thompson (eds.) 2018. ‘Making Families: Transnational Surrogacy, Queer Kinship, and Reproductive Justice’. Special Issue of Reproductive Biomedicine & Society Online, Vol. 7, Nov. 2018. [open access]

Smietana, M. & Thompson, Ch. (eds.) 2018. ‘Making Families: Transnational Surrogacy, Queer Kinship, and Reproductive Justice’Special Issue of Reproductive Biomedicine & Society Online, Vol. 7, Nov. 2018. [open access]

Smietana, M. (2018). «Mes pères d’intention et moi sommes amis sur Facebook» : comment des femmes porteuses et des pères gais gèrent les tensions entre don et échange marchand aux États-Unis. In: I. Côté, K. Lavoie & J. Courduriès (eds.) Perspectives internationales sur la gestation pour autrui: Expériences des personnes concernées et contextes d’action, pp. 225-247. Presses de l’Université du Québec.

Smietana, M. (2017). Affective de-commodifying, economic de-kinning: Surrogates’ and gay fathers’ narratives in U.S. surrogacy. In: Ch. Faircloth, & Z. Gurtin. ‘Making Parents: Reproductive Technologies and Parenting Culture across Borders’ Special Issue of Sociological Research Online 22(2): 6. DOI: 10.5153/sro.4312

Smietana, M. (2016). ‘Families like we’d always known’? Spanish gay fathers’ normalization narratives in transnational surrogacy. In: M. Lie, & N. Lykke (eds.) Assisted Reproduction across Borders: Feminist Perspectives on Normalizations, Disruptions and Transmissions, pp. 49-60. Routledge. 

Smietana, M., Jennings, S., Herbrand, C., & Golombok, S. (2014). 'Family relationships in gay father families'. In: T. Freeman, S. Graham, F. Ebtehaj & M. Richards M. (eds.) Relatedness in Assisted Reproduction: Families, Origins and Identities. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 

Smietana, M. (2013). 'Las paternidades y maternidades en las familias de padres gays creadas por gestación subrogada'. In: J. Bestard, C. López, & D. Marre (eds.) Maternidades, procreación y crianza en transformación. Barcelona: Bellaterra. 

Smietana, M. (2011). 'Matczyni ojcowie? Męskość i kobiecość w hiszpańskich rodzinach gejów'. In: E. Ciaputa, & K. Wojnicka (eds.) Karuzela z mężczyznami: Kategorie męskości w polskich badaniach społecznych. Kraków: Impuls. 

Slany K., Kowalska B., & Smietana M., eds. (2005). Homoseksualizm: Perspektywa interdyscyplinarna. Kraków: Nomos.