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The Open University


Faculty of Health & Social Care

Birth and Death Research Group

The Birth and Death research group, which was formed in 2005, brings together service users, practitioners, academics, policy makers and others interested in the subject of reproductive loss.

The core aims of this research group include:

  • to provide a forum for discussion and debate
  • to stimulate research, writing and publishing
  • to promote positive change in education, policy and practice.

Forthcoming events:

15th June 2011
BSA Human Reproduction Study Group Conference
See The British Sociological Association for more information

Previous events:

June 2010
Gestational Diabetes

January 2010
International Reproductive Loss/Issues

1st July 2009
Funeral Directing and Funerals in the UK: A few insights
Brian Parsons
Michael Young Building, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes.

2nd October 2008
Experiencing Reproductive Loss: working together to change practice
Conference programme (pdf)
Abstract booklet (pdf)
Audios for each speaker
Photos of the day (pdf)

2008 - two-day interdisciplinary workshop
'Loss in childbearing' in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia
Download further details (pdf)
Organised by Bregie de Kok, University of Edinburgh

18th January 2007 Symposium and Workshop:
Making a Difference: Experiences of Reproduction and Loss
Funded by the Foundation for the Sociology of Health and Illness
The report is available to download (pdf)

Birth and Death research group publications:

Details about other publications from members of the group can be found at Open Research Online.

Earle, Sarah, Foley, Pam, Komaromy, Carol and Lloyd, Cathy E. (2008). Conceptualizing reproductive loss: A social sciences perspective. Human Fertility, 11(4), pp. 259–262.

Earle, S., Komaromy, C. and Bartholomew, C. (2008) Death and Dying: A Reader (London: Sage in association with the Open University)

Earle, S., Bartholomew, C. and Komaromy, C. (2008) Making Sense of Death, Dying and Bereavement: An Anthology (London: Sage in association with the Open University)

The following are part of a series of articles published in The Practising Midwife exploring social perspectives on reproductive loss:

Komaromy C, Earle S, Foley P and Lloyd C (2007), 'Reproductive loss and the moment of death', Practising Midwife, ISSN: 1461-3123.

Komaromy C, Earle S, Lloyd C and Foley P (2007), 'A social insight into bereavement and reproductive loss, Practising Midwife, ISSN: 1461-3123.

Earle S, Komaromy C, Foley P and Lloyd C (2007) 'The social dimensions of reproductive loss', Practising Midwife, June, ISSN: 1461-3123.

Earle, S. and Letherby. G. (2003) Gender, Identity and Reproduction: Social Perspectives (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan)

Details about other publications from members of the group can be found at Open Research Online.

Work in progress

Hockey, J., Komaromy, C. and Woodthorpe, K. (forthcoming) The Matter of Death: space, place and materiality (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan)

Lloyd, C. E., Earle, S.F., Dyer, P.E. and Clifford, S.A. ‘The experiences of pregnancy and childbirth in women with diabetes; development of a research protocol

Chair of the Birth and Death Research Group

Sam Murphy, Open University


Caroline Bartholomew, Open University
Jan Bleyen, University of Leuven, Belgium
Joan Cameron (email), University of Dundee
Maria Desougi, University of Stirling
Sarah Earle, Open University
Pam Foley, Open University
Ruth Graham, University of Newcastle
Kerry Jones, University of Bristol
Bregje de Kok (email), University of Edinburgh
Carol Komaromy, Open University
Valerie Sheach Leith, Robert Gordon University
Cathy Lloyd, Open University
Kate Woodthorpe, University of Bath

Postgraduate Students

Hong Chen


Useful links

British Sociological Association study groups
Centre for Death and Society
Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths
Natural Death Centre
Childhood Bereavement Network
Winston’s Wish
Cruse Bereavement Care
Road Peace
Disaster Action
Funeral Inspirations

The Open University is incorporated by Royal Charter (RC 000391), an exempt charity in England & Wales and a charity registered in Scotland (SC 038302)