Dr. Anne Croy, Queen’s University, and Dr. Aureo Yamada, University of Campinas (UNICAMP) in Brazil, recently received funding from the Canada-Brazil Awards: Joint Projects initiative to create a training and exchange program for graduate student researchers to conduct research on pregnancy, maternal health, and fetal health in Canada and Brazil. While many participants in this program will be conducting basic science and clinical studies, as the first sociologist to participate, starting January 2012 I will spend 6 months in Campinas, Brazil conducting a survey of women’s perspectives on donating their placentas for scientific research. Placentas are integral to the conduct of scientific research on pregnancy, yet women’s views on the use of their placenta in research have not been systematically studied. My research will begin to address this gap. Ethical protocols for collecting and using placentas, as well as pregnancy research in general, may be made more responsive, efficient, and appropriate with insights from this research.
Around the world, donation, collection, and consent procedures differ vastly; likewise, experiences and perspectives of women regarding the use of their placenta in scientific research are likely to be highly contextually- and culturally-specific. As such, the program organizers and I plan to develop a comparative component with a complementary survey at Queen’s University.
I talked with Queen’s Journal about my participation in the study, and other components of the program are described, here.
I am looking forward to beginning this research and am excited for the opportunity to live in Brazil! Now to try to learn Portuguese…