skip to primary navigationskip to content


Reproductive Sociology Research Group

Studying at Cambridge


Dr. Katie Dow

Dr. Katie Dow

Senior Research Associate

Office Phone: 01223 332459


My main research interests are the ethical dilemmas and questions provoked by reproduction and assisted reproductive technologies and the interconnections between concerns about the environment and reproduction. I am particularly concerned with the ways in which ideas of nature and naturalness are implicated in morality and ethics, as well as the importance of gender, class, ethnicity and sexuality in structuring parenting and reproduction. As a research associate in ReproSoc, I am working on a research project on representations of IVF in the British media, focusing particularly on newspapers and TV documentaries in the key period of the 1970s and 80s, surrounding the birth of Louise Brown.

My book, Making a Good Life, was published last year by Princeton University Press. It looks at middle class British people's ideas about the ethics of reproduction and assisted reproductive technologies. In the book, I trace the connections between how people think about the ethics of reproduction and ethics in their everyday lives, in a context of anxieties about environmental crisis and destruction of the natural world, intense public scrutiny of parenting and reproduction and the rise of biotechnology (you can watch me talking about it more in this video). I have also recently co-edited a journal special issue on the contemporary relationship between nature and ethics, which develops my key theoretical interests. This special issue has now been published online and in print in Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology

I chair an interdisciplinary reading group on reproduction, based in London. Please get in touch with me if you would be interested in joining.

Key Publications

2016. ‘What Gets Left Behind for Future Generations? Reproduction and the Environment in Spey Bay, Scotland’, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 22(3): 653-669

2016. Making a Good Life: An Ethnography of Nature, Ethics and Reproduction. Princeton University Press. 

2016. ‘Seeing with Dolphins: Reflections on the Salience of Cetaceans’. In Thinking about Animals in the Age of the Anthropocene: Human-animal relations in the era of humankind, eds. Morten Tønnessen, Silver Rattasepp and Kristin Armstrong Oma. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books

2015. Review of Moral Laboratories, Cheryl Mattingly (2014). Medicine Anthropology Theory. View here.

2015. Introduction: Nature and Ethics across Geographical, Rhetorical and Human Borders. Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology. View online here

2015. 'A Nine-Month Head-Start': The Maternal Bond and Surrogacy. Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology. View online here

2013. 'Building a Stable Environment in Scotland: Planning Parenthood in a Time of Ecological Crisis', in Parenting in Global Perspective: Comparative Studies in Kinship, Self and Politics, eds. Faircloth, C, Hoffman, D. & L. Layne. Oxford: Routledge

2012. '"You're Gonna Get what you Pay for": Gay Parents and Transnational Surrogacy', Anthropology News April 2012

2012. 'The Surrogate Body and the Body Politic'. Review of Teman, E. (2010) Birthing a Mother: The Surrogate Body and the Pregnant Self. Science as Culture February 2012