Accessibility statement

Dr Marilyn Crawshaw

BSc (Soc) (London), CQSW and DipApplSocStudies (Sheffield), MA (Bradford), PhD (York)

  • Honorary Fellow


Areas of expertise

  • Impact of assisted reproduction on individual and family life over the lifespan, in particular where this involves donor assisted conception and surrogacy arrangements
  • Knowledge transfer
  • I also have close links with NGOs in Uganda and Pakistan working variously on HIV/AIDS and community development work with women and children. For many years, I was responsible for arranging social work field placements in Uganda, but these are currently suspended.
  • Within all these areas, I am especially interested in human rights aspects.

Academic biography

One key strand to my research and teaching has been to further understanding of personal experience, especially in the fields of donor assisted conception, surrogacy and adoption, and of teenage and young adult cancer.  There is growing awareness of the psycho-social implications both of new family forms resulting from reproductive technologies and of surviving cancer treatment (including where this results in fertility impairment).  I have conducted several studies that attempt to extend such understanding by, for example, looking at the experiences of donor-conceived adults searching for information about their genetic relatives, parents’ intentions regarding openness with their donor conceived children, the effectiveness of adoption preparation systems, social workers’ experiences with Parental Order applications following surrogacy, the transition to adulthood following cancer and comparative experiences of cancer-related fertility impairment across ethnic and religious contexts.

The other main strand to my work is knowledge-informed practice.  For many years, I ran a regional ‘arm’ of Making Research Count, working with social services and health to enable them to make more effective use of findings from research and from experiences of professionals, service users and carers.  Here at York we developed a unique model of delivery, informed by social work education experiences and systemic approaches.  Understanding how individual practitioners integrate new knowledge into their practice has aided understanding of similar processes at team, agency and inter agency level.  

Professional activities

  • Chair of British Association of Social Workers multi-agency group PROGAR (Project Group on Assisted Reproduction)
  • Editor, Practice Guide Series for British Infertility Counselling Association and Life Member
  • Member of UK Birth Registration Reform Group
  • Chair, UK Friends of Khwendo Kor, Pakistan
  • Adviser to Positive Men’s Union of Uganda (POMU)
  • Joint co-ordinator of the Friends of the Protective Fellows Scheme for Human Rights Defenders at Risk and Member of the Advisory Board of the Centre for Applied Human Rights, University of York
  • Member of organising group for: York Disability Week and York International Women's Week programme
  • Executive Member for York Human Rights City Network and member of the city's Human Rights and Equalities Board


Research projects

Current research:

  • With a colleague from Middlesex University I am conducting a research evaluation of Telling and Talking workshops run by Donor Conception Network for parents of children aged 0-7 to help them talk openly with their children about their origins.

Recently concluded research includes:

  • A study with colleagues from the British Infertility Counselling Association into the experiences of fertility counsellors two years on from the start of during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 In addition, I am currently engaged in:

  • Delivering research, practice and theory based psychosocial sessions to professionals in the field of donor conception and surrogacy.
  • Contributing to discussions about a potential review of Human Fertilisation and Embryology legislation in the UK.
  • Compiling summary reports for PAC-UK to be shared with adopted adults or birth relatives seeking information from their records.
  • Advising the Positive Men’s Union of Uganda (POMU) on how to gather and act on information about what helps and hinders men in seeking help and support.
  • Contributing to the development of human rights approaches and understanding through membership of the steering group of York Human Rights City Network. York was declared the UK’s first Human Rights City in April 2017.


Recent publications

Marilyn Crawshaw, Sanna Eriksson and Margot Brown (2023) Using a Volunteer Friends Support Scheme in a Temporary Relocation programme Journal of Human Rights Practice DOI: 10.1093/jhuman/huad016 – also available at

Crawshaw, M and Barnsley, N (2022) Commentary: Why egg donors need to be brought out of the shadows in surrogacy arrangements BioNews 19 December 1172

Adams, D., Crawshaw, M., Gilman, L. and Frith L. (2023) Accessing origins information: the implications of direct-to-consumer genetic testing for donor-conceived people and formal regulation in the United Kingdom IN D. Dempsey, F. Kelly and A. Byrt (eds) Donor-linked families in the Digital Age: Relatedness and Regulation Cambridge, Cambridge University Press pp 15.32

Crawshaw, M., Indekeu, A. and Ellis, J. (2022) Family Life after Donor Conception – Clinical Guide IN S. Covington. S.N. (ed) Covington Fertility Counselling Cambridge, Cambridge University Press

Ellis, J., Crawshaw, M., and Indekeu, A.. (2022) Family Life after Donor Conception – Case Study IN S. Covington. S.N. (ed) Covington Fertility Counselling Cambridge, Cambridge University Press

Marilyn Crawshaw, Angela Pericleous-Smith, Lynda Mizen and Gerry McCluskey (2022) 2 Years On – Survey of BICA members about Fertility Counselling Provision in the Covid-19 Pandemic Journal of Fertility Counselling Summer Edition

Nunn J.S., Crawshaw M., Lacaze P. (2021) Co-Designing Genomics Research with a large group of donor-conceived siblings (2021) Research, Involvement and Engagement

Nunn J.S., Crawshaw M., Lacaze P., et al. Co-Designing Genomics Research with Donor-Conceived Siblings (STARDIT Beta Version Report). Accessed September 7, 2021

Crawshaw, M. and van den Akker, O. (2021) How many is too many? Who is thinking about the children? BioNews 1099

Crawshaw, M., Pericleous-Smith, A., and Dark, S. (2021) Counselling Challenges Associated with Donor Conception and Surrogacy Treatments - Time for debate Human Fertility

Pericleous-Smith, A., Dark, S., McCluskey, G., Mizen, L. and Crawshaw, M. (2021) Survey of Fertility Counselling Provision in UK Licensed Treatment Centres during the first phase of the COVID-19 pandemic

Crawshaw, M. (2020) Emerging Challenges Relating to Gamete(s) Donation: Recent developments in the UK and their international implications IN Katharina Beier, Claudia Brügge, Petra Thorn, Claudia Wiesemann (eds) Assistierte Reproduktion mit Hilfe drutter (Assisted Reproductive Medicine with the assistance of 3rd parties) pp 401-414 Berlin, Springer

Blyth, E., Crawshaw, M., Frith, L. and Jones, C. (2020) Donor-conceived people’s views and experiences of their genetic origins IN Katharina Beier, Claudia Brügge, Petra Thorn, Claudia Wiesemann (eds) Assistierte Reproduktion mit Hilfe drutter (Assisted Reproductive Medicine with the assistance of 3rd parties) pp 361-388 Berlin, Springer

Crawshaw, Marilyn and Daniels, Ken (2018) Revisiting the use of ‘counselling’ as a means of preparing prospective parents to meet the emerging psychosocial needs of families that have used gamete donation Families, Relationships and Societies

Frith, L., Blyth, E., Crawshaw, M. and van den Akker, O. (2017) Secrets and disclosure in donor conception Sociology of Health and Illness DOI:

Frith, L., Blyth, E., Crawshaw, M. and van den Akker, O. (2017) Searching for 'relations' using a DNA linking register by adults conceived following sperm donation BioSocieties (0), 1-20 DOI:

Crawshaw, M. (2017) Direct-to-consumer DNA testing – the fallout for individuals and their families unexpectedly learning of their donor conception origins Human Fertility DOI:

Blyth, Eric, Crawshaw, Marilyn., Rodino, Iolanda and Thorn, Petra (2017) Donor-conceived people do benefit from being told about their conception BioNews Commentary 902

Crawshaw, M. and 38 others (2017) Disclosure and donor-conceived children Human Reproduction

E.D. Blyth, M. Crawshaw, L. Frith, O. van den Akker (2017)  Gamete donors’ motivations for, expectations and experiences of registration with a voluntary donor linking register Human Fertility

Marilyn Crawshaw, Eric Blyth and Julia Feast (2017) Can the UK’s birth registration system better serve the interests of those born following collaborative assisted reproduction? Reproductive Biomedicine & Society Online 4 (2017)  pp. 1-4.

Marilyn Crawshaw,What social workers need to know about surrogacy', 14 December 2016

M. Crawshaw, L. Frith, O. van den Akker and E.D. Blyth (2016)  Voluntary DNA-based information exchange and contact services following donor conception: an analysis of service users’ needs New Genetics and Society DOI: 10.1080/14636778.2016.1253462. Once published online, permanent link:

Eric Blyth and Marilyn Crawshaw, Retrospective removal of donor anonymity: respectful, fair, grateful and moral? An evidence-based argument, 21 March 2016, BioNews, 844m

'Evolving minimum standards in responsible international sperm donor offspring quotaReproductive Bio-Medicine Online DOI

Van den Akker OBA, Crawshaw MA, Blyth ED, and Frith LJ (2015) Expectations and experiences of gamete donors and donor-conceived adults searching for genetic relatives using DNA linking through a voluntary register Human Reproduction Vol 30 No 1, 111-121.

Eric Blyth, Marilyn Crawshaw and Patricia Fronek (2015) Reform of UK surrogacy laws: the need for evidence BioNews Commentary 813

Blyth E. and Crawshaw M (2015) Breaches of the HFEA's donor 'ten family' limit - who should be told what? BioNews 786

Marilyn Crawshaw, Ken Daniels, Damian Adams, Kate Bourne, J.A.P. van Hooff, Wendy Kramer, Lauri Pasch, Petra Thorn (2015) Emerging models for facilitating contact between people genetically related through donor conception: a preliminary analysis and discussion Reproductive Biomedicine & Society Online 1 (2015)  pp. 71-80  DOI information: 10.1016/j.rbms.2015.10.001

Wendy Norton, Marilyn Crawshaw, Nicky Hudson, Lorraine Culley, Caroline Law (2015) A survey of UK fertility clinics' approach to surrogacy arrangements Reproductive Biomedicine Online 31, 327-338 06/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.rbmo.2015.06.009

Atkin K., Chattoo, S. And Crawshaw, M. (2014) Clinical encounters and culturally competent practice: the challenges of providing cancer and infertility care Policy and Politics Vol 42, No 4, 581-596

Fronek, P., Crawshaw, M., Blyth, E., & Elvin, A. (2014). International surrogacy: A report from the roundtable. The Bulletin, Australian Association of Social Workers, Winter, 30-31

Crawshaw, Marilyn and Wallbank J (2014) Is the birth registration system fit for purpose? The rights of donor conceived adults to access information about biological as well as legal parentage. Family Law August Vol 44 pp1069-1216

Marilyn Crawshaw, Patricia Fronek, Eric Blyth and Andy Elvin (2014) ‘What are children’s ‘best interests’ in international surrogacy?’ article for BASW Knowledge and Publications

Crawshaw, Marilyn (2014) Oncofertility concerns across the lifespan – a multidisciplinary response Oncofertility Cancer Knowledge Network (Canada) E-Newsletter Issue 4 March 

Blyth, E., Crawshaw M. And van den Akker O. (2014) What are the best interests of the child in international surrogacy? BioNews Commentary 742 

Fronek P. And Crawshaw M. (2014) The ‘new’ family as an emerging norm: A commentary on the position of social work in assisted reproduction British Journal of Social Work doi:10.1093/bjsw/bct198

Crawshaw M. and Montuschi O. (2014) It ‘did what it said on the tin’ - Participants’ Views of the content and process of Donor Conception Parenthood Preparation Workshops Human Fertility 17, 1, 11-20

Wilde,  R., McTavish, A. and Crawshaw, M. (2014) Family Building using Donated Gametes and Embryos in the UK: Recommendations for Policy and Practice on behalf of the British Fertility Society and the British Infertility Counselling Association  and in collaboration with the Association of Clinical Embryologists and the Royal College of Nurses Fertility Nurses Forum Human Fertility 17, 1, 1-10

Emma Cresswell and Marilyn Crawshaw (2013) Emma’s story – Why a review of birth registration is needed. Journal of Fertility Counselling Issue 3, Vol 20, pp18-19

Marilyn Crawshaw, Eric Blyth and Olga van den Akker  Research Update: Recent research into surrogacy arrangements- implications for infertility counselling Journal of Fertility Counselling Winter Issue 2, Vol 20, 2013 pp 20-22

Crawshaw, M. (2013) Male coping with cancer-fertility issues – Putting the ‘social’ into biopsychosocial approaches Reproductive Biomedicine Online DOI: 10.1016/j.rbmo.2013.04.017 Invited for special edn

Marilyn Crawshaw, Eric Blyth, Lucy Frith and Caroline Jones (2013) Research Update: What is known about the views of donor-conceived children and adults and what are the implications for infertility counselling practice? Journal of Fertility Counselling Issue 1, Vol 20, Spring pp 22-25

Marilyn Crawshaw, Eric Blyth and Olga van den Akker (2013) The ethics and aesthetics of paid surrogacy Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Midwifery News Summer Issue 39, March p 20-23

Crawshaw, M. and Montuschi, O. (2013) 'Participants' Views of Attending Parenthood Preparation Workshops for those contemplating donor conception parenthood', Journal of Infant and Reproductive Psychology. DOI:10.1080/02646838.2012.748886. Available online via Taylor and Francis.

Crawshaw, M. (2013) 'Psychosocial oncofertility issues faced by adolescents and young adults over their lifetime: a review of the research', Human Fertility Special Edition. DOI: 10.3109/14647273.2012.733480. Invited paper.

Crawshaw, M., Gunter, C., Tidy, C. and Atherton, F. (2013) 'Working with previously anonymous gamete donors and donor-conceived adults: recent practice experiences of running the DNA-based voluntary information exchange and contact register, UK DonorLink', Human Fertility Special Edition. DOI: 10.3109/14647273.2012.731714. Invited paper.

Crawshaw, M. and Hunt, J. (2012) 'Spot the odd one out: The missing place at the donor conception table', BioNews Commentary 666.

Crawshaw, M., Blyth, E. and van den Akker, O. (2012) 'The changing profile of surrogacy in the UK – Implications for national and international policy and practice', Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, 34(3), 265-275. DOI:10.1080/09649069.2012.750478.

Blyth, E., Crawshaw, M., Frith, L. and Jones, C. (2012) ‘Donor-conceived people’s views and experiences of their genetic origins: a critical analysis of the research evidence’, Journal of Law and Medicine, 19(4), June, 769-789, invited paper.

Crawshaw, M. and Dally, J. (2012) ‘Producing sperm, egg and embryo donors’ pen portraits and other personal information for later use by donor offspring: an exploratory study of professional practices’, Human Fertility, 15(2), 82-88.

Crawshaw, M., Purewal, S., and van den Akker, O. (2012) ‘Working at the margins: The views and experiences of court social workers on Parental Orders’ work in surrogacy arrangements’ British Journal of Social Work. Available online via Oxford Journals.

Purewal, S., Crawshaw, M. and van den Akker, O. (2012) ‘Completing the surrogate motherhood process: The experiences of Parental Order Reporters’, Human Fertility, 15(2), 94-99.

Crawshaw, M. and Merricks, W. (2012) ‘Donor information – Time for a Debate’, BioNews Commentary, 646, 27th February 2012.

Crawshaw, M., Purewal, S., and van den Akker, O. (2011) Research study by University of York and Middlesex University: The experiences and views of Parental Order Reporters (PORs) on surrogacy arrangementsKey Findings (PDF , 208kb)‌  

Crawshaw, M. (2011) ‘BBC documentary shows why we need UK DonorLink’, BioNews Commentary, 30th August 2011.

Blyth, E. and Crawshaw, M. (2011) ‘Countdown begins for ending donor anonymity in British Columbia: Lessons for us all?BioNews Commentary, 6th June 2011

Crawshaw, M. and Balen, R. (2011) ‘Commentary on ‘Sperm preservation in children: A prescription for consistency with both child protection and criminal law’ by Wheeler, et al.’, Clinical Risk, 17: 58-9.
Crawshaw, M. (2011) ‘Donor registers and donor linking services: What can the UK learn from Australia and New Zealand?’, Journal of Fertility Counselling, 18(1): 41-45.

Crawshaw, M. and Adams, D. (2011) ‘Rising from the Ashes: Two countries, two reviews of donor conception services - Australia leads the wayBioNews Commentary, 21 February 2011. 

Crawshaw, M. (2011) Report on trip to Australia and New Zealand July to September 2011 to study Donor Register and Donor linking services. Available online (PDF , 355kb)

Blyth, E., Crawshaw, M., Frith, L., Jones, C. and Martin, N. (2011) ‘No ‘brownie’ points for ill-conceived Donation Review’, BioNews Commentary, 31 January 2011. 

Chattoo, S., Crawshaw, M. and Atkin, K. (2010) The experience of cancer-related fertility impairment among people of South Asian and White origin: A research report for Cancer Research UK C8351/A9005Available online (PDF , 3,351kb)

Chattoo, S., Crawshaw, M. and Atkin, K. (2010) Experiences of cancer-related fertility concerns among people of South Asian and White origin Summary paper. University of York/ Cancer Research UK. Available online (PDF , 524kb)

Crawshaw, M., Chattoo, S., and Atkin, K. (2010) Experiences of cancer-related fertility concerns among people of South Asian and White origin: Summary for professionals. University of York/ Cancer Research UK. Available online (PDF , 407kb)

Crawshaw, M. and Adams, D. (2010) ‘The ‘donated’ generation – action now not formal apology later’, BioNews Commentary,29 November 2010.

Blyth, E., Crawshaw, M., Frith, L., Jones, C., and Speirs, J. (2010) ‘Wither the HFEA and the fate of donor registers’, BioNews Commentary. 23 August 2010.

Crawshaw, M. and Balen, R. (eds) (2010) Adopting after Infertility – Messages from Practice, Research and Personal Experience. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Crawshaw, M. and Balen, R. (2010) ‘Where infertility arises from a prior health condition – Fit to adopt?’, in Crawshaw, M. and Balen, R. (eds) Adopting after Infertility – Messages from Practice, Research and Personal Experience. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, pp 55-68.

Crawshaw, M. (2010) ‘Assessing infertile couples for adoption: Just what does ‘coming to terms with infertility’ mean?’ , in Crawshaw, M. and Balen, R. (eds) Adopting after Infertility – Messages from Practice, Research and Personal Experience. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers. pp 68-89.

Crawshaw, M. and Sloper, P. (2010) ''Swimming against the tide' - the influence of fertility matters on the transition to adulthood or survivorship following adolescent cancer', European Journal of Cancer Care, 19, 610-620.

Crawshaw M, Glaser A, Hale J and Sloper P (2009) ‘Male and female experiences of having fertility matters raised alongside a cancer diagnosis during the teenage and adult years’, European Journal of Cancer Care 18, 381-390.

Crawshaw M. (2009) ‘The psychological and psycho-social issues surrounding sperm banking’ In Pacey A.A. and Tomlinson M. (eds) Sperm Banking: Theory and Practice Cambridge, Cambridge University Press pp 41-57

Crawshaw M ‘Assisted conception: threat or opportunity’  Squire C (ed)(2009) The Social Context of Birth Second edition Abingdon, Radcliffe Medical Press pp 271-289

Crawshaw M., Glaser A, Hale J and Sloper P (2008) ‘Young males’ experiences of sperm banking following a cancer diagnosis – a qualitative study’ Human Fertility Vol 11 No 4 pp 238-245

Crawshaw M and Marshall L (2008) ‘Practice experiences of running UK DonorLink, a voluntary information exchange and contact register for adults related through donor conception’ Human Fertility Vol 11 No 4 pp 231-237

McEwen J., Crawshaw M., Liversedge A., and Bradley G (2008) ‘Promoting change through research and evidence-based practice: a Knowledge Transfer Partnership project between a university and a local authority’ Evidence and Policy Vol 4 No 4 pp 393-404

Crawshaw M. (2008) ‘Prospective parents’ intentions regarding disclosure following the removal of donor anonymity’ Human Fertility Vol 11(2) pp 95-100

Crawshaw M.A. (2008) “What about my 'right' to choose?" Young people with physical impairments exercising reproductive choice' In Bockenheimer-Lucuis G., Thorn P., and Wendehorst C. Umwege zum eigenen Kind: Ethische und rechtliche Herausforderungen an die Reproduktionsmedizin 30 Jahre nach Louise Brown (‘The Long way to having an own child: Ethical and legal problems 30 years after Louise Brown), Göttinggen, Göttingen University Publishers pp 185-198

Blyth E., Frith L. and Crawshaw M. (2008) 'Ethical objections to sex selection for non-medical reasons’  Reproductive BioMedicine Online Vol 16 Suppl 1 pp41-45

Crawshaw M.A., Glaser A.W. and Pacey A.A. (2007) 'The use of pornographic materials by adolescent male cancer patients when banking sperm in the UK: Legal and ethical dilemmas' Human Fertility Vol 10 No 3 pp159-163

Crawshaw M.A., Blyth E.D. and Daniels K.D. (2007) 'Past semen donors' views about the use of a voluntary contact register' Reproductive BioMedicine Online Vol 14 No 4 pp411-417

Crawshaw M and Sloper P (October 2006) A qualitative study of the experiences of teenagers and young adults when faced with possible or actual fertility impairment following cancer treatment ISBN: 1 872159 36 2 Department of Social Policy & Social Work, University of York, York YO10 5DD, UK; SPSW Publications.

Wincott E and Crawshaw MA (2006) ‘From a social issue to policy: social work's advocacy for the rights of donor conceived people to genetic origins information in the UK’ In Social Work in Health Care Vol 43 no 2/3 p53-72

Balen R and Crawshaw M (eds)(2006) Sexuality and Fertility in Ill Health and Disability: From early adolescence to adulthood London, Jessica Kingsley

Shaw N., Crawshaw M., Glaser A., Morgan S. and Pacey A. (2005) ‘The views of adolescents who have had cancer treatment about fertility and fertility preservation: a UK perspective’ Pediatric and Blood Cancer 145 (4): 581

Crawshaw M and Wates M (2005) ‘Mind the gap – a case study for changing organisational responses to disabled parents and their families using evidence based practice’ Research Policy and Planning Vol 23 no 2 pp111-122

Crawshaw M and Hale J (2005) ‘Sperm storage and the adolescent male: A multidisciplinary approach’ Human Fertility September, 8(3) 175-176

Daniels K, Blyth E, Crawshaw M and Curson (R 2005) ‘Short Communication: Previous Semen Donors and their views regarding the sharing of information with their offspring’ Human Reproduction Vol 20, No 6, pp1670-1675

Blyth ED, Crawshaw MA and Daniels K (2004): ‘Policy formation in gamete donation and egg sharing in the UK – A critical appraisal’ Social Science and Medicine 59(2004) 2617-2626

Glaser AW Phelan L, Crawshaw M, Jagdev S, JK Hale (2004) ‘Fertility preservation in adolescent males with cancer in the United Kingdom: A survey of practice’ Archives of Disease in Childhood, 89, 736-737

Crawshaw MA, Glaser AW, Hale JK and Sloper P (2004) ‘Professionals’ Views on the issues and challenges arising from providing a fertility preservation service through sperm banking to teenage males with cancer’ in Human Fertility, March 2004, 7(1):23-30

Feast J and Crawshaw M (2004) ‘Work in Progress’ ‘Long term implications for families formed by surrogacy or donor-assisted conception Adoption & Fostering Vol 28 Number 1 2004 pp73-75

Bell M, Crawshaw M and Wilson K (2002) Adoption Reform, Diversity and Delay in Adoption and Fostering Vol 26 No 3 pp 8-18

Crawshaw M (2002) ‘Disabled People’s Access to Social Work Education: Ways and Means of Promoting Environmental Change’ In Social Work Education­ Vol 21, No 5, 503-514

Blyth E, Crawshaw M, Haase J and Speirs J (2001) Managing Genetic Origins Information in third party assisted conception: lessons from adoption Child and Family Social Work, Vol 6 Issue 4 295-304













Contact details

Dr Marilyn Crawshaw
Honorary Fellow
School for Business and Society

Tel: 01904 702060