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Research Seminar Series - Psychological health, prenatal bonding, and experiences of gestational surrogates

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START DATE 20 March 2019

Middlesex University Dubai, Oasis Theatre

END DATE 20 March 2019

We are pleased to invite you to our Wednesday Research Seminar. It will be held on March 20th from 4pm, at Middlesex University Dubai in the Oasis Theatre, Block 16, Knowledge Park.

Wednesday Research Seminar Series was launched in 2008, and has featured more than 245 presentations to date. The seminars provide a forum for researchers to share their work. Presenters include faculty from Middlesex University Dubai and other universities in the United Arab Emirates, as well as researchers from other global institutions. Dr. Nishtha Lamba will deliver seminar on:

“Psychological health, prenatal bonding, and experiences of gestational surrogates”

Nishtha Lamba


Commercial surrogacy in India began in 2002 and quickly grew into an unregulated 2.3-billion-dollar industry. Convenient regulations such as low costs and allowing name of commissioning parents on the birth certificate attracted many intending parents from around the globe. The extreme economic and cultural differences between international couples and surrogates, fertility clinics compromising health of surrogates for profit, stigmatization of surrogacy in India, and the constant surveillance of these women living in a ‘surrogate house’, had raised concerns regarding the potentially negative psychological impact of surrogacy on Indian surrogates. Terms like “womb farm”, “baby factory”, and “global sisterhood” were frequently used to represent the surrogacy ‘market’. However, there was no information regarding the psychological health of women choosing to become surrogates in low-income countries. 

The primary aims of this research were (i) to conduct a longitudinal assessment of surrogates’ psychological problems, (ii) to examine the nature of the bond formed between surrogates and the unborn baby and establish whether this prenatal bond contributes to their psychological problems, and (iii) to explore the experiences of surrogates during and post-surrogacy. Surrogate mothers were compared with a matched group of expectant mothers during pregnancy and most of them were followed up 4-6 months after the birth. All surrogates were hosting pregnancies for international intended parents and had at least one child of their own. Data were obtained using standardized questionnaires and in-depth interviews and were analyzed using both quantitative and qualitative methods.   


Dr. Nishtha Lamba is a behavioral scientist with a keen interest in policy work. Broadly, her research interests include ‘mental health of vulnerable populations’ and ‘families built through assisted reproductive techniques’. She completed her PhD in Psychology from University of Cambridge in 2017. Her PhD work being inter-disciplinary had elements of social psychology, health psychology, developmental psychology, and bio-ethics. She also holds an Mphil in Social and Developmental Psychology from University of Cambridge and a BA in Psychology and Sociology from Hunter College, City University of New York. She is primarily a mixed-method researcher and has published her research in international peer reviewed journals on a range of topics, such as, language development in children, social media and culture, egg donation, and surrogacy. She is also working as a consultant psychologist for a mental health startup based in London and an infantry in the Indian Army. 

We look forward to welcoming you at the seminar.

If you are interested in presenting at one of our future seminars, or would like to recommend someone, please contact:

Middlesex Associates FZ LLC, Dubai Knowledge Park - Blocks 4, 16, 17 & 19
Admissions +971 (0)4 3678100

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