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Reproductive Sociology Research Group


I am a research associate at ReproSoc, where I coordinate the ‘LGBTQ+ In/Fertilities’ work package on the changing fertility perceptions and behaviours among LGBTQ+ people. This work is part of the collaborative grant ‘Changing In/Fertilities,’ directed by Prof. Sarah Franklin (Cambridge) and Prof. Marcia Inhorn (Yale), and funded by the Wellcome Trust (2018-2021).

Prior to joining ReproSoc in Cambridge in 2016, I was a European Commission's Marie Skłodowska-Curie postdoc fellow at the University of California-Berkeley (2014-2016). Within the 'SurrogARTs' project, I researched kinship and family relationships in LGBTQ+ communities, in particular among gay men having children through surrogacy in the United States. Based on my ethnographic research on transnational surrogacy between Europe and the US, I am currently preparing a book manuscript on gay men’s changing reproductive aspirations and transactions.

The result of this research is also a special issue of Reproductive BioMedicine Online (2018, vol. 7) on ‘Making Families: Transnational Surrogacy, Queer Kinship and Reproductive Justice’ I guest-edited with Prof. Charis Thompson (LSE, previously UC Berkeley). In this volume - derived from a day-long conference, Making Families, we convened at UC Berkeley in 2016 - our aim was to draw out and then begin to address tensions and possible solidarities among three powerful frames for thinking about contemporary reproduction, namely queer reproductions, stratified reproduction and reproductive justice, that are rarely read together.

Since 2011 I have also been collaborating with the AFIN (Adoptions, Families, Infancies) research group, directed by Prof. Diana Marre at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. Within AFIN’s research project 'Adoptions and fosterages in Spain' I investigated transnational adoption and surrogacy from the Spanish gay parents’ perspective.

In my sociology PhD at the University of Barcelona 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. I carried out this work as a Government of Catalonia research fellow at the Centre of Research in Theories and Practices that Overcome Social Inequalities (CREA-UB), directed by Dr Marta Soler. I could further develop my study during a research stay at the Centre for Family Research in Cambridge, with Prof. Susan Golombok.

These projects stemmed from my earlier MA research at the Jagiellonian University in my native Krakow (Poland) on identity politics and social reception of the Polish LGBT movement. In 2004 at the Jagiellonian University’s Sociology Department, together with Prof. Krystyna Slany and Dr Beata Kowalska, we pioneered the conference ‘Homosexuality: An Interdisciplinary Perspective,’ followed by co-editing a volume under the same title.

Currently at Cambridge I am also a member and research collaborator of the LGBTQ+@Cam initiative. In the Sociology Department, I teach on re/productive labour, reproductive technologies, as well as queer and trans scholarship - within the undergrad papers 'Sociology of Gender' and 'Concepts and Arguments in Sociology,' as well as the MPhil in Health, Medicine & Society. My research interests and upcoming projects include queer ecologies, critical animal studies and relationships between species in human and nonhuman reproduction.


Key publications: 

Smietana, Marcin (2019) ‘Procreative consciousness in a global market: Gay men’s paths to surrogacy in the US,’ In: Marcin Smietana & Charis Thompson (eds.) ‘Making Families: Transnational Surrogacy, Queer Kinship, and Reproductive Justice’. Special Issue of Reproductive BioMedicine and Society, vol. 7 Nov. 2018, pp. 1-160, [open access]

Smietana, Marcin; Thompson, Charis & Twine, France Winddance (2018). Introduction: Making and Breaking Families: Reading Queer Reproductions, Stratified Reproduction and Reproductive Justice Together. In: Marcin Smietana & Charis Thompson (eds.) 2018. ‘Making Families: Transnational Surrogacy, Queer Kinship, and Reproductive Justice’. Special Issue of Reproductive Biomedicine & Society Online,  vol. 7 Nov. 2018, pp. 1-160, [open access]

Smietana, Marcin & Thompson, Charis (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, Marcin (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: Isabel Côté, Kevin Lavoie & Jerome 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, Marcin (2017). Affective de-commodifying, economic de-kinning: Surrogates’ and gay fathers’ narratives in U.S. surrogacy. In: Charlotte Faircloth, & Zeynep 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, Marcin (2016). ‘Families like we’d always known’? Spanish gay fathers’ normalization narratives in transnational surrogacy. In: Merete Lie & Nina Lykke (eds.) Assisted Reproduction across Borders: Feminist Perspectives on Normalizations, Disruptions and Transmissions, pp. 49-60. Routledge. 

Smietana, Marcin; Jennings, Sarah; Herbrand, Cathy; & Golombok, Susan (2014). 'Family relationships in gay father families'. In: Tabitha Freeman, Susanna Graham, Fatemeh Ebtehaj & Martin Richards (eds.) Relatedness in Assisted Reproduction: Families, Origins and Identities. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 

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

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

Slany, Krystyna; Kowalska, Beata; & Smietana, Marcin, eds. (2005). Homoseksualizm: Perspektywa interdyscyplinarna. Kraków: Nomos.


Blog Posts (on ReproSoc Blog)

'Houses, Children, Animals and the Planet' (June 2019).

'Queering Fertility?' (October 2017).

'Conceivable Futures' (March 2017).

Research Associate
Dr. Marcin  Smietana

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