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Positive experiences of surrogacy

SURROGACY IS STILL considered a positive experience by surrogate mothers and their children up to ten years after the birth of the surrogacy child, according to a small- scale follow up study of the experiences and psychological health of surrogate mothers and their families.

Interviews with 34 surrogate mothers in the original study published in 2003 revealed that while some found the weeks following the birth difficult, most did not experience psychological problems one year later. A decade on, none of

the 20 surrogates re-interviewed expressed regrets about their involvement in surrogacy and their psychological wellbeing was unchanged. Findings further reveal that surrogates’ own children were not negatively affected as a result of their mother’s decision to be a surrogate. n

i Contact Dr Vasanti Jadva, University

of Cambridge Email Telephone 01223 767848 ESRC Grant Number RES-061-25-0480

Data shows Britain is pulling together not pulling apart

THE WIDELY HELD view that Britain is experiencing increasing social polarisation is challenged by a new study of the social closeness, or distance, between groups in the UK and Europe. Social distance patterns were shown to be largely stable for an extended period of time, and, if anything, change that did occur was in the direction of reduced social distance. Using data from major UK and

European social surveys, researchers investigated social distance between people, and whether this changed over the period 1970 to 2012. The study classified people into groups defined by their social positions, attitudes or lifestyles (for example, political values, leisure interests, or educational or occupational circumstances), then

measured the frequency of social interaction between people with similar or different characteristics. Interaction was measured through marriage, friendship or the sharing of networks. “Our evidence shows that in general there has been increased social intermixing and reduced exclusivity in the UK over the last 40 years,” states researcher Dr Paul Lambert. “In terms of social distance patterns, neither Britain, nor indeed Europe, was ‘pulling apart’. Rather for Britain it has been more a case of ‘pulling together’.” n

i Contact Dr Paul Lambert, University of Stirling

Email Web Telephone 01786 467979 ESRC Grant Number ES/K004379/1


SMART ECO-CITIES Europe and China face the challenge of finding ways to promote economic transition towards a green economy. China and several European countries are planning and building experimental cities focused on the green economy. Researchers will carry out international, interdisciplinary, multi-method analysis of green economy- focused eco-city projects in China, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and France. ESRC grant number ES/L015978/1

DOCTORAL TRAINING The new Cambridge Doctoral Training Centre will run a linked series of training courses for postgraduate and early career social scientists. These will explore the use of large datasets in the social sciences; examine approaches to the evaluation of social problems and offer the opportunity to learn about advanced analytical techniques in relation to geographical information about social issues. ESRC grant number ES/M005895/1

PENSION QUESTIONS Radical changes have been announced to pension schemes across the public sector from April 2015. How will the changes affect remuneration in public- versus private-sector jobs in the UK and who will be most affected? Will the reforms induce employees to switch from public to private sector? Researchers will answer these questions using a newly developed methodology and simulation methods. ESRC grant number ES/L014920/1


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