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URPP Human Reproduction Reloaded | H2R

Empirical and Normative Knowledge and Data Centre


The Empirical and Normative Knowledge and Data Centre is designed to be the backbone of the URPP H2R. It will integrate normative and empirical perspectives and ensure a coherent, stringent research program. Above all, the Data Centre will chiefly provide an information and discussion hub, enabling the researchers involved in the URPP H2R to collaborate in developing research questions, formulating information and data demands, reflecting on interdisciplinarity in empirical methods, and sharing information and data. It hosts regular workshops for the URPP H2R researchers to collaboratively develop and reflect on research questions and create survey instruments. This is especially important, because the different sub-projects focus on partially overlapping questions from various disciplinary and methodological perspectives. The Empirical and Normative Knowledge and Data Centre has three broad aims:

First, it will foster a common understanding of key empirical and normative concepts and combine insights from social sciences, medicine, law, and ethics to identify research questions and to discuss and understand the data. The Data Centre is committed to a descriptive-normative, transdisciplinary, and context-sensitive approach. Normative perspectives both inform quantitative and qualitative empirical studies and are challenged by them.

Second, it will embrace a citizen-science approach, supporting activities that maximize the collaboration between citizens and scientists in all phases of the research process.

Third and most importantly, the Data Centre together with members of the sub-projects will collaboratively organize the sampling process to ensure efficient sampling and coordination of the different samples and instruments
used for experimental, survey and qualitative research.

Projects PhDs and Postdocs

Gendered Perspectives on Assisted Reproduction: An Investigation of the Swiss Population's Attitudes and Motivations (by Maila Mertens)
This dissertation project aims to explore the attitudes of the Swiss population towards assisted reproduction, with a particular focus on gendered effects and the technologies that are relevant to women's reproductive choices. Assisted reproduction technologies (ARTs) have witnessed significant advancements in recent years, offering new possibilities for individuals and couples facing fertility challenges. Understanding public perceptions and gendered dynamics in this subject area is crucial to address potential disparities and inform policymaking.

The papers written for this dissertation project rely on statistical analyses of fresh data collected by the Data Centre of the URPP H2R through a variety of sociological survey methods. These methods will facilitate the investigation of public attitudes towards ARTs, identifying any gender-related nuances in their perceptions. Additionally, the project delves into specific ARTs that concern women and examines their motivations to use these technologies.

By shedding light on the intersection of gender and assisted reproduction, this research contributes to the broader discourse on reproductive rights and healthcare policies. The findings will offer valuable insights into how gender shapes public attitudes, paving the way for more inclusive and equitable practices in the field of assisted reproduction.


Queer Identities and the desire to parent (by Larissa Fritsch)
The possibilities to raise children for same-sex couples and other queer individuals are limited by societal and legal restrictions on one hand, often by biological preconditions on the other. With respect to the latter, reproductive medicine has broadened the opportunities for lgbt+ individuals to start families in various ways. This dissertation project aims to understand the interplay between society and the emergence and realization of a desire to parent with a focus on queer identity by investigating attitudes among the general population towards access to reproduction for non-heteronormative family types, differences in perceived reasons for (not) having a child between queer and non-queer individuals and the phenomenon of regretting parenthood.


Social norms and inequalities in the realm of human reproduction (by Dr. Sandra Gilgen)
​​​​​​​Innovations in assisted reproduction technologies (ART) are growing rapidly. While this means that people who experience difficulties having children have more possibilities than ever before, this has led to controversial public discussions on who should have access to these new technologies and whether they should receive financial support for the procedures in question. My focus lies on the differences in the acceptance of the use of ART for both singles as well as couples who want to be parents – focusing on various dimensions of inequalities such as gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic position and education. This allows us to shed light on the social norms, expectations and pressures surrounding parenthood and the difficulties people face who are outside of these norms. Parental regret – itself a possible outcome of societal pressures – is a further topic currently under study. In my research I use various methods of quantitative research, including survey experiments and other experimental approaches aiming to reduce social desirability bias and/or to allow for the testing of causal claims.  As a further tool for causal inference, I draw on directed acyclic graphs (DAGs) to inform my model building choices.

Weiterführende Informationen

Co-Leaders Empirical and Normative Knowledge and Data Centre


Unterseiten von Empirical and Normative Knowledge and Data Centre