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Associate Professor in Sociology, Swinburne University of Technology

Dr Deb Dempsey is Associate Professor in Sociology at Swinburne University.

Deb's broad research interests are in the sociology of personal life (including sexuality and sexual health), genetic technologies and ageing.

Deb has a long-standing interest in how assisted reproductive technologies (ART) influence approaches to family formation and meanings of family. She is best known for her work on family formation in the LGBTI communities. Recent publications include Families, Relationships and Intimate Life, 2nd edition, published by Oxford University Press in 2014, and Same-Sex Parented Families in Australia, published by the Australian Institute of Family Studies in 2013.

Other select publications:

Dempsey, D. (2015) ‘Relating across International borders: Gay male couples creating families through surrogacy’, in Inhorn, M., Chavkin, W. and Navarro, J., (eds.) Globalized Fatherhood, Berghahn Books, New York and Oxford.

Dempsey, D. (2013) 'Surrogacy, gay male couples and the significance of biogenetic paternity', New Genetics and Society,32 (1)

Dempsey D. and Hewitt, B. (2012) ‘Fatherhood in the 21st Century’, Journal of Family Studies, 18, (2-3), December, 98-102.

Dempsey, D. (2012) ‘Gay men’s paternal involvement in lesbian-parented families’, Journal of Family Studies, 18, (2-3) December, 155-164.

Dempsey D. (2012) More like a donor or more like a father: gay men’s concepts of relatedness to children, Sexualities 15 (2), 156-174.

Dempsey, D. (2010) 'Conceiving and negotiating reproductive relationships: lesbians and gay men creating families with children', Sociology, vol. 44, no. 6, pp. 1145-1162.

Dempsey, D. & Critchley, C. (2010) 'Comfort with use of Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) for family formation by same-sex and heterosexual couples: A survey of Australian social attitudes' Gay and Lesbian Issues and Psychology Review, Vol. 6, No. 2, pp. 90-102.

Lindsay, J. and Dempsey, D. (2009) Families, Relationships and Intimate Life, Oxford University Press, Melbourne.

Dempsey, D. (2006) 'Active Fathers, Natural Families and Children's Origins: Dominant Themes in the Australian Political Debate over Eligibility for Assisted Reproductive Technology', Australian Journal of Emerging Technologies and Society, Vol. 4, No. 1.

Dempsey, D. (2005) 'Lesbians' right-to-choose, children's right-to-know' in Jones, H.G. and Kirkman, M. (eds.) Sperm Wars, ABC Books, Sydney.

Dempsey, D. (2004) 'Donor, Father or Parent?: Conceiving Paternity in the Australian Family Court', International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family, Vol. 18, pp. 76-102.

McNair, R., Dempsey, D., Wise, S., Perlesz, A. (2002) 'Lesbian Parenthood: Issues, Strengths and Challenges, Family Matters, No. 63, Spring/Summer, pp.40- 49.


  • –present
    Senior Lecturer - Sociology, Swinburne University of Technology