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Dr Jennifer Speirs
Honorary Research Fellow, Centre for Research on Families and Relationships, the University of Edinburgh
Jennifer Speirs is a social anthropologist and social worker with an interest in kinship and origins issues. She received her doctorate in 2008 for her thesis ‘Secretly connected? Anonymous semen donation, genetics and meanings of kinship’ and recently completed an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Edinburgh disseminating and developing the findings of her thesis.
Dr Speirs is currently engaged in academic writing and planning further research. She provides advice on policy matters pertaining to donor-assisted conception to the British Association of Social Workers, the British Fertility Society, and the National Gamete Donation Trust. She was a lay inspector for the UK’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority for many years. Using her experience in origins counselling, especially as the CEO of Family Care (now called Birthlink) Dr Speirs is an intermediary with AAA-Norcap, an organisation which helps adopted people and their relatives in England and Wales, and is a support worker for UK Donorlink, the organisation set up to connect individuals with a personal involvement in a donor procedure in the UK before 1991. Recently she was an invited participant at a scoping meeting of the National Council on Bioethics on the subject of ‘Genes and Parenting’.