Portrait of Professor Sally Sheldon

Professor Sally Sheldon

Professor of Law


Sally Sheldon is a Professor of Law at Kent Law School. Her research interests are primarily in health care law and ethics, and the legal regulation of gender. She has published widely in the area of medical ethics and law, including a book on abortion law ('Beyond Control: Medical Power and Abortion law', 1997) and a co-edited collection of essays on Feminist Perspectives on Health Care Law (1998). She has recently completed one AHRC-funded project: ‘How Can a State Control Swallowing?’ Medical Abortion and the Law, and is currently engaged on another: ‘The Abortion Act (1967): a Biography’.

Research interests

Sally Sheldon's research interests are primarily in health care law and ethics, and the legal regulation of gender. She has published widely in the area of medical ethics and law, including a book on abortion law ('Beyond Control: Medical Power and Abortion law', 1997) and a co-edited collection of essays on Feminist Perspectives on Health Care Law (1998). Together with Richard Collier of Newcastle Law School, she has also co-authored a socio-legal study of fatherhood ('Fragmenting Fatherhood', 2008) and co-edited 'Fathers' Rights activism and Law Reform (2007). Her current work centres on reproduction and the law.​ In 2017, Sally was elected as a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, in recognition of her pioneering socio-legal research, particularly in the area of abortion law.    


Trustee of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (2009-18).


Showing 50 of 92 total publications in the Kent Academic Repository. View all publications.


  • Sheldon, S. (2018). Empowerment and Privacy? Home Use of Abortion Pills in the Republic of Ireland. SIGNS: Journal of Women in Culture and Society [Online] 43:823-849. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1086/696625.
    Early reports heralded the development of abortion pills as promising a reproductive revolution. Some twenty-five years on, this article considers the extent to which this promise has been fulfilled in the context of the Republic of Ireland. It focuses in particular on the work of two online collectives, Women on Web and Women Help Women. Drawing on a small number of interviews with activists, support groups, service providers, doctors, and government officials, the article assesses, first, the extent to which abortion pills have empowered women and, second, their offer of privacy. It argues that while home use of pills has had enormous importance in furthering each of these goals and, more generally, women’s health, it does not offer a panacea for current deficiencies in reproductive health care. The empowerment offered by abortion pills is necessarily precarious and partial, with the privacy offered by the pills operating not just as part of that empowerment but also as a significant limitation on it. The article also suggests that privacy readily collapses into secrecy, feeding a carefully choreographed silence regarding abortion, which allows the state to ignore its existence and thus to avoid responsibility for women’s reproductive health.
  • Hervey, T. and Sheldon, S. (2018). Abortion by telemedicine in the European Union. International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics [Online]. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1002/ijgo.12738.
    This paper analyses an important set of legal issues raised by the telemedical provision of abortion pills. Focusing on the case of EU law, it suggests that a properly accredited doctor seeking to treat a patient with abortion pills is entitled, in principle, to rely on EU rules of free movement to protect her access to patients in other member states and women facing unwanted pregnancies likewise have legal rights to access the services thus offered. EU countries seeking to claim an exception to those rules on the basis of public health or the protection of a fundamental public policy interest (here, the protection of fetal life) will face significant barriers.
  • Sheldon, S. et al. (2018). The Abortion Act (1967): a Biography. Legal Studies [Online] 39:18-35. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1017/lst.2018.28.
    In this paper, we set out what it means to offer a ‘biography’ of a law, illustrating the discussion through the example of the Abortion Act (1967), an important statute that has regulated a highly controversial field of practice for five decades. Biography is taken as a useful shorthand for an approach which requires simultaneous attention to continuity and change in the historical study of a law’s life. It takes seriously the insight that written norms are rooted in the past, enshrining a certain set of historically contingent values and practices, yet that – as linguistic structures that can impact on the world only through acts of interpretation – they are simultaneously constantly evolving. It acknowledges the complex, ongoing co-constitution of law and the contexts within which it operates, recognising that understanding how law works requires historical, empirical study. Finally, it suggests that consideration of a law can offer a unique window through which to explore these broader contexts.
  • Lee, E., Sheldon, S. and Macvarish, J. (2018). The 1967 Abortion Act fifty years on: Abortion, medical authority and the law revisited. Social Science and Medicine [Online] 212:26-32. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2018.07.010.
    The recent 50th anniversary of the 1967 Abortion Act provides the opportunity to
    revisit what has been termed the ‘remarkable authority’ this Act ascribes to doctors.
    This paper does so using as its starting point a seminal commentary on this question
    by the renowned medical sociologist Sally Macintyre, published in this journal in
    1973 as ‘The Medical Profession and the 1967 Abortion Act in Britain’. We revisit
    themes from that paper through an analysis of the findings of interviews with 14
    doctors who, throughout lengthy careers, have provided abortions and led the
    development of the abortion service in England and Wales. We contrast our findings
    with Macintyre’s, and argue that our interviews highlight the shifting meaning of
    medical authority and medical professionalism. We show that those doctors most
    involved in providing abortions place moral value on this work; uphold the authority
    of women (not doctors) in abortion decision-making; view nurses and midwives as
    professional collaborators; and consider their professional and clinical judgement
    impeded by the present law. We conclude that medical sociologists have much to gain
    by taking abortion provision as a focus for the further exploration of the shifting meaning of medical authority.
  • Sheldon, S. (2018). How Can a State Control Swallowing? The Home Use of Abortion Pills in Ireland'. Reproductive Health Matters [Online] 24:90-101. Available at: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.rhm.2016.10.002.
    Evidence suggests that there is widespread home use of abortion pills in Ireland and that ending a pregnancy in this way is potentially safer than the alternatives available to many women. This paper argues that there is a strong case for women with unwanted pregnancies to be offered truthful and objective information regarding the use of abortion pills by trusted local professionals and, further, that this is possible within existing law. A move in this direction would not, however, negate the need for legal reform to address the fundamental moral incoherence of a law that treats women who terminate pregnancies within Ireland as criminals but those who travel to access services overseas as victims in need of support. In support of these arguments, the paper draws on both library research and a small number of interviews with government officials, service providers and activists
  • Sheldon, S. and Hervey, T. (2017). Abortion by telemedicine in Northern Ireland: patient and professional rights across borders. Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly [Online] 68:1-33. Available at: https://nilq.qub.ac.uk/index.php/nilq/article/view/28.
    The uneasy legal and political settlement regarding abortion in Northern Ireland has long relied on the outsourcing of aspects of reproductive health care. While local health services offer only highly restricted access to termination procedures, women travel to access abortion services elsewhere. However, technological changes, in particular the development of abortifacient medicines, are revolutionising this aspect of reproductive healthcare. Rather than women having to travel to a service, today that service can travel to women through the postal supply of abortion pills, sourced via the internet. While online supply of pharmaceuticals can pose potential public health risks, at least two groups offer safe and effective telemedical services to women in Northern Ireland. Women on Web and Women Help Women each supply abortion pills, under prescription from a doctor based in another country, to women who wish to end a pregnancy of nine weeks or less. Here, we consider the extent to which the telemedical abortion services that they offer are protected by transnational law, in particular, EU provisions on cross-border services. This offers new and hitherto unexplored lines of legal argument (including defences against criminal prosecution and challenges to a state's attempts to restrict the flow of services). Through claiming the autonomy-based legal relationships implicit in transnational law and the power that flows therefrom, we suggest, women may challenge regulatory arrangements which seek to limit their reproductive rights.
  • Sheldon, S. and Fletcher, J. (2017). Vacuum aspiration for induced abortion could be safely and legally performed by nurses and midwives. Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Healthcare [Online] 43:260-264. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jfprhc-2016-101542.
    Background: Some 40% of abortions carried out in England and Wales are done by vacuum aspiration. It is widely assumed that, in order to be lawful, these procedures must be performed by doctors.

    Aim and design: This study aimed to provide a detailed reassessment of the relevant law and the clinical evidence that supports this assumption.

    Conclusions: A close reading of relevant law reveals that this assumption is unfounded. On the contrary, it would be lawful for appropriately trained nurses or midwives, acting as part of a multidisciplinary team, to carry out vacuum aspiration procedures. This interpretation of the law offers the potential for developing more streamlined, cost-effective abortion services, which would be both safe and highly acceptable to patients.
  • Sheldon, S. and Diduck, A. (2017). Introduction: Twenty-Five Years of Social & Legal Studies. Social & Legal Studies [Online] 26:665-675. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1177/0964663917728115.
  • Lee, E., Macvarish, J. and Sheldon, S. (2017). ‘After the ‘need for….a father’: ‘The welfare of the child’ and ‘supportive parenting’ in UK assisted conception clinics’. Families, Relationships and Societies [Online] 6:71-87. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/204674315X14303090462204.
    The law governing assisted conception in the United Kingdom (UK) (the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990) mandates through section 13(5) that clinicians make ‘child welfare’ assessments before proceeding with treatment. In the 1990 Act, section 13(5) stated that assessment should take into account ‘the need … for a father’, but in section 13(5) of a revised Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act in 2008 the words ‘a father’ were replaced with ‘supportive parenting’ in order to signal official recognition of same-sex parents. This article challenges the idea that this might be seen as an unequivocally progressive development through reference to a growing body of scholarship that critically evaluates the attention that policy makers have come to pay to ‘parenting’. It discusses the sociopolitical context that gave rise to section 13(5) and the pressures that led to its reform. Findings from an interview study with members of staff who work in assisted conception clinics in the UK are then discussed, focusing on staff’s perceptions of the new policy, the meanings they ascribe to the term ‘supportive parenting’ and their opinions about the responsibility they are given under law for child welfare. The article concludes that professionals’ understandings of their role resonate strongly with the wider realities of the oversight of parent–child relations considered characteristic of policies on parenting.
  • Sheldon, S. (2016). British Abortion Law: Speaking from the Past to Govern the Future. The Modern Law Review [Online] 79:283-316. Available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1468-2230.12180/abstract.
  • Sheldon, S. (2016). Abortion law reform in Victoria: lessons for the UK. Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Healthcare [Online] 43:25. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jfprhc-2016-101676.
  • Sheldon, S. (2015). The regulatory cliff edge between contraception and abortion: the legal and moral significance of implantation. Journal of Medical Ethics [Online]. Available at: http://www.dx.doi.org/10.1136/medethics-2015-102712.
    In regulating the voluntary interruption of pregnancy, English law has accorded particular significance to two biological events. First, ‘viability’, the moment when a fetus is said to acquire the capacity for independent life, plays an important role in grounding restrictions on access to legal abortion later in pregnancy. Second, equally significantly but far less frequently discussed, ‘implantation’ marks the point in pregnancy from which abortion laws apply. This paper focuses on this earlier biological event. It suggests that an unquestioning reliance on implantation as marking an appropriate moment of transition between two radically different legal frameworks is deeply problematic and is rendered still less sustainable in the light of the development of new technologies that potentially operate shortly after the moment of implantation.
  • Sheldon, S. (2015). The Decriminalisation of Abortion: an Argument for Modernisation. Oxford Journal of Legal Studies [Online]. Available at: http://www.dx.doi.org/10.1093/ojls/gqv026.
    While abortion is now offered as a routine part of modern NHS-funded reproductive healthcare, the legal framework regulating it remains rooted in the punitive, conservative values of the mid-Victorian era. This article argues that this framework is in need of fundamental reform to modernise it in line with the clinical science and moral values of the 21st century. It assesses the current statutory framework regulating abortion against the purposes that are typically claimed to motivate it: the protection of women; and the prevention and condemnation of the intentional destruction of fetal life. It argues that it fails to achieve either of these broad aims and that we should thus remove specific criminal penalties relating to abortion. This, it is suggested, would be likely to have very limited impact on the incidence of abortion but would, however, better recognise contemporary medical realities and moral thinking.
  • Sheldon, S., Lee, E. and Macvarish, J. (2015). 'Supportive Parenting’, Responsibility and Regulation: The Welfare Assessment under the Reformed Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act (1990). The Modern Law Review [Online] 78:461-492. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1468-2230.12124.
    Section 13(5) of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 requires fertility clinics, before offering regulated treatment services, to take account of the welfare of any child who may be born as a result of the treatment and any other child affected by that birth. This paper presents the findings of an empirical study examining the impact on practice of the controversial reform of this section in 2008. While the broad values underpinning section 13(5) appear well embedded in clinic staff's engagement with ethical issues, there is little evidence that practice has been influenced by the 2008 amendments. A complex picture emerged regarding the implementation of section 13(5), particularly in its interaction with other factors, such as funding criteria and professional norms around counselling, implying a higher level of ongoing attention to likely parenting ability – particularly that of single women – than might be expected from a reading of the statute and guidance alone.
  • Lee, E., Macvarish, J. and Sheldon, S. (2014). Assessing Child Welfare under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008: A Case Study in Medicalization? Sociology of Health & Illness [Online] 36:500-515. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-9566.12078.
    This article reports findings from a study of interviews with 66 members of staff working in assisted conception clinics in the UK about their experience of making ‘welfare of the child’ (WOC) assessments pre-conception. This aspect of the provision of infertility treatment services is obligatory under section 13(5) of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act. This provision was amended in 2008 and the primary aim of the study was to find out how this change had impacted on practice. In describing what we found, we also make a contribution to scholarship about the medicalization of reproduction. Section 13(5) has often been discussed as a prime example of medicalization, as it gives clinics power to grant or deny access to infertility treatment on wide ranging ‘child welfare’ grounds, encompassing far more than purely clinical considerations. Yet while such medicalization may be entrenched in the law, our findings suggest this power is used in a very ‘light touch’ way, with clinics explicitly directed by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority that they should operate with a presumption to treat. Further, while our interviewees offered near-universal support for the need to consider child welfare before offering treatment, this is now justified by concerns which focus not on family form (e.g. the need for a father figure) but more on the quality of interactions and relationships between parents and children. In this light, and by virtue of the fact that a wide variety of clinic staff share the gatekeeping role with doctors, we suggest that the concept of medicalization may offer a rather blunt tool for understanding a far more complex reality.
  • Lee, E., Macvarish, J. and Sheldon, S. (2013). The role of counsellors in infertility clinics. BioNews [Online]. Available at: http://www.bionews.org.uk/page_249841.asp?hlight=The+role+of+counsellors+in+infertility+clinics.
    Counselling has become an increasingly central – and sometimes mandatory – part of the provision of infertility treatment services in the UK, although its role is not always clearly defined. In a recent research project, we interviewed 66 staff, with different roles at 20 clinics that provide infertility treatment services (around one quarter of the total). Our research offered some interesting insights into the role of counsellors in this process.
  • Sheldon, S. (2012). Is it illegal to abort an unborn baby because of its sex? Not necessarily. The Guardian [Online]. Available at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/2012/feb/28/is-sex-selective-abortion-illegal.
    The sting that showed clinics agreeing to requests for sex-selective abortion caused outrage. Yet it's far from clear that the practice is always illegal.
  • Sheldon, S. (2012). Abortion for reason of sex: correcting some basic misunderstandings of the law. Abortion Review [Online] 37:2. Available at: http://www.abortionreview.org/index.php/site/article/1143/.
  • Sheldon, S. (2012). The Abortion Act's paternalism belongs to the 1960s. The Guardian [Online]. Available at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/2012/mar/22/abortion-act-needs-reform.
    Women, not doctors, should decide whether they need an abortion.
  • Horsey, K. and Sheldon, S. (2012). Still Hazy After All These Years: The Law Regulating Surrogacy. Medical Law Review [Online] 20:67-89. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/medlaw/fwr039.
    In 1997, Margaret Brazier was asked by the then Government to chair a review of the laws regulating surrogacy. The subsequent Brazier Report made a number of recommendations, including the need for greater regulation and the tightening of ‘expenses’ payments. Fifteen years on, the limitations in the legal regulation of surrogacy have become increasingly clear. Yet, none of Brazier's recommendations have been adopted, despite the clear opportunity for revisiting the regulation of surrogacy offered during the passage of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act (2008). In this paper, we revisit the Brazier Report in the light of subsequent developments and assess to what extent its key findings remain salient. Brazier's recommendations will thus provide a jumping off point for a critical analysis of the current state of the law regarding surrogacy.
  • Sheldon, S. (2011). Is it a harm to be born with different skin colour to your parents? Bionews [Online] 616. Available at: http://www.bionews.org.uk/page_102222.asp.
  • Sheldon, S. (2011). 'Only skin deep? The harm of being born a different colour to one's parents': A (a minor) and B (a minor) by C (their mother and next friend) v A Health and Social Services Trust [2010] NIQB 108; [2011] NICA 28. Medical Law Review [Online] 19:657-668. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/medlaw/fwr029.
  • McCandless, J. and Sheldon, S. (2010). The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act (2008) and the Tenacity of the Sexual Family Form. Modern Law Review [Online] 73:175-207. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2230.2010.00790.x.
    The new parenthood provisions set out in Part 2 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 have been attacked as dangerous and radical, offering a ‘lego?kit model of family life’ and a ‘magical mystery tour’ in how legal fatherhood is to be determined. In this paper, we explain what is innovative about these new provisions but also explore what they owe to deep?rooted traditional assumptions about the family. Relying both on published documentation relating to this reform process and a small number of key actor interviews, we trace the imprint of what Fineman has described as the ‘sexual family’ model on the provisions. We conclude that the way that parenthood is framed within the legislation relies on a number of important normative assumptions which received very little scrutiny in this process. We also highlight a number of tensions within this framing which, we suggest, may create future problems for judicial determination.
  • McCandless, J. and Sheldon, S. (2010). “No Father Required”? The Welfare Assessment in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008. Feminist Legal Studies [Online] 18:201-255. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10691-010-9164-z.
    Of all the changes to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 that were introduced in 2008 by legislation of the same name, foremost to excite media attention and popular controversy was the amendment of the so-called welfare clause. This clause forms part of the licensing conditions which must be met by any clinic before offering those treatment services covered by the legislation. The 2008 Act deleted the statutory requirement that clinicians consider the need for a father of any potential child before offering a woman treatment, substituting for it a requirement that clinicians must henceforth consider the child’s need for “supportive parenting”. In this paper, we first briefly recall the history of the introduction of s 13(5) in the 1990 Act, before going on to track discussion of its amendment through the lengthy reform process that preceded the introduction of the 2008 Act. We then discuss the meaning of the phrase “supportive parenting” with reference to guidance regarding its interpretation offered by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority. While the changes to s 13(5) have been represented as suggesting a major change in the law, we suggest that the reworded section does not represent a significant break from the previous law as it had been interpreted in practice. This raises the question of why it was that an amendment that is likely to make very little difference to clinical practice tended to excite such attention (and with such polarising force). To this end, we locate debates regarding s 13(5) within a broader context of popular anxieties regarding the use of reproductive technologies and, specifically, what they mean for the position of men within the family.
  • Sheldon, S., Sozou, P. and Hartshorne, G. (2010). ‘Consent agreements for cryopreserved embryos: the case for choice’. Journal of Medical Ethics:230-233.
  • McCandless, J. and Sheldon, S. (2010). "No Father Required"? The Welfare Assessment in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act (2008). Feminist Legal Studies 18:201-225.
  • Sheldon, S. (2009). From “absent objects of blame” to “fathers who want to take responsibility”: reforming birth registration law’, invited contribution to a refereed special issue on fatherhood. Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law 31:373-389.
  • Sozou, P., Sheldon, S. and Hartshorne, G. (2009). Withdrawal of Consent by Sperm Donors. British Medical Journal 339.
  • Sheldon, S. (2009). A missed opportunity to reform an outdated law (Guest Editorial). Clinical Ethics 4:3-5.
  • Sheldon, S. (2007). Unmarried Fathers and British Citizenship: the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act (2002) and British Nationality (Proof of Paternity) Regulations (2006). Child and Family Law Quarterly 19:1-16.
  • Sheldon, S. and Collier, R. (2006). Unfamiliar Territory. The Guardian [Online] Wednes:1-2. Available at: http://society.guardian.co.uk/children/story/0,,19359700.html.
  • Sheldon, S. (2005). Fragmenting Fatherhood: The Regulation of Reproductive Technologies. Modern Law Review [Online] 68:523-533. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2230.2005.00550.x.
    Reproductive technologies offer the potential to break down parenthood into a number of constituent parts. These disruptive possibilities mean that the regulation of reproductive technologies holds important potential for study, providing a significant resource that has been little analysed with regard to fatherhood. This study attempts to remedy that lacuna through consideration of a range of recent developments in this area of English law. It reaches two general conclusions. First, while the law regulating reproductive technologies attributes great importance to fatherhood, this is rooted primarily (though not exclusively) in concerns for the symbolic importance of fathers, rather than in more practical considerations such as ensuring financial provision or a second hands-on carer for a child. Secondly, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act (1990) contains a clear attempt to protect and entrench the role of the father as completing the nuclear family. However, recent developments suggest that this legal preference for the nuclear family is subject to clear emerging cracks.
  • Sheldon, S. (2005). Reproductive Technologies and the Legal Determination of Fatherhood. Feminist Legal Studies [Online] 13:349-362. Available at: http://www.springerlink.com/content/p62kl76706261214/fulltext.pdf.
    In Re D is the most recent in a line of cases to have raised problems with the determination of legal fatherhood under s.28(3) of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act (1990). The judgment is interesting in particular as a demonstration of the growing currency of the idea that a child has a right to ‘genetic truth’ and for further evidencing a ‘fragmentation of fatherhood’.


  • Sheldon, S. and Collier, R. (2008). Fragmenting Fatherhood. Oxford: Hart Publications.

Book section

  • Davis, G. et al. (2019). All aboard the Abortion Express: A historical geography of the 1967 Abortion Act. in: Sethna, C. and Davis, G. eds. Abortion Across Borders: Transnational Travel and Access to Abortion Services. Johns Hopkins University Press. Available at: https://jhupbooks.press.jhu.edu/title/abortion-across-borders.
  • McCandless, J. and Sheldon, S. (2014). Genetically challenged: the determination of legal parenthood in assisted reproduction. in: Freeman, T. et al. eds. Relatedness in Assisted Reproduction: Families, Origins and Identities. Cambridge University Press, pp. 61-79.
  • Sheldon, S. (2014). The Medical Framework and Early Medical Abortion in the UK: How Can a State Control Swallowing? in: Cook, R., Erdman, J. and Dickens, B. eds. Abortion Law in Transnational Perspective Cases and Controversies. University of Pennsylvania Press.
  • Sheldon, S. and McCandless, J. (2014). Genetically Challenged: The Determination of Legal Parenthood in Assisted Conception. in: Relatedness in Assisted Reproduction: Families, Origins and Identities. Cambridge University Press, pp. 61-78.
  • Sheldon, S. and McCandless, J. (2013). Le "Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act" de 2008 et la Persistence du Modele de la Famille Sexuelle. in: Hennette-Vauchez, S., Moschel, M. and Roman, D. eds. Ce que le genre fait out droit. .
  • Sheldon, S. (2010). Commentary on Evans v Amicus Health Care (Sonia Harris Short). in: Hunter, R., McGlynn, C. and Rackley, E. eds. Feminist Judgments: From Theory into Practice. Hart.
  • Sheldon, S. (2009). Saviour Siblings, Other Siblings and Whole Organ Donation. in: Nisker, J. and Mykitiuk, R. eds. The Healthy Embryo. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 251-265.
  • Sheldon, S. and Wilkinson, S. (2009). Tomorrow's Children: Child Welfare, Adoption, and Assisted Conception. in: Hayry, M., Takala, T. and Holm, S. eds. Life of Value: John Harris, His Arguments, and His Critics. Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi.
  • Sheldon, S. (2006). Reproductive Choice: Men's Freedom and Women's Responsibility. in: Bois-Pedain, A. and Spencer, J. eds. Freedom and Responsibility in Reproductive Choice. London: Hart, pp. 175-195.
  • Collier, R. and Sheldon, S. (2006). Fathers' Rights, Fatherhood and Law Reform - International Perspectives. in: Collier, R. and Sheldon, S. eds. Fathers' Rights Activism and Law Reform in Comparative Perspective. London: Hart Publications, pp. 1-26.

Edited book

  • Sheldon, S. and Collier, R. eds. (2006). Fathers' Rights, Activism and Legal Reform in Comparative Perspective. Oxford: Hart Publications.

Edited journal

  • Sheldon, S. and Diduck, A. eds. (2018). Special Issue: Twenty Five Years of Social & Legal Studies. Social & Legal Studies [Online] 26. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1177/0964663917728115.

Internet publication

  • Sheldon, S. and Margaria, A. (2014). Parenting Post-IVF: Is Age Not So Relevant After All? [.]. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.rbmo.2014.03.018.
  • McCandless, J. and Sheldon, S. (2009). Parenthood and the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 [online newsletter]. Available at: http://www.bionews.org.uk/page_38063.asp.


  • Lee, E., Macvarish, J. and Sheldon, S. (2012). Assessing Child Welfare Under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act: The new law. Summary of findings. University of Kent. Available at: http://blogs.kent.ac.uk/parentingculturestudies/files/2012/06/Summary_Assessing-Child-Welfare-final.pdf.
    In 1990 the Human Fertilisation and Embryology (HFE) Act introduced an extensive legal framework for all research and treatment using human embryos in the UK. One short section of this Act placed on assisted conception services an obligation to assess ‘the welfare of the child’ (WOC) who may be born as a result of treatment pre-conception. This part of the HFE Act became the subject of research and debate in the subsequent years.


  • Sheldon, S. (2006). Stored Embryos, Gender Equality and the Meaning of Parenthood. [Online]. Available at: http://www.bionews.org.uk/commentary.lasso?storyid=3283.
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