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Sociology Research


Dr Robert Pralat is a research associate at THIS Institute in the Department of Public Health and Primary Care at the University of Cambridge. Previously, he held various roles in the Department of Sociology at Cambridge, where he maintains an affiliation. Most recently, he was a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow and the medical sociology subject manager on the MPhil in Health, Medicine and Society.

In his research, Robert has examined how cultural changes and advances in medicine shape people’s views about parenthood, with a particular focus on sexual minorities and men living with HIV. More recently, he has explored the role of desire in people’s engagement with health technologies and moral judgements about public funding allocation in healthcare. Currently, Robert is working on various projects aimed at healthcare improvement.

Robert has taught at Cambridge since 2012, lecturing, supervising and leading modules in the areas of health, gender, family, reproduction and qualitative research methods. Before moving to Cambridge, he worked in the Centre for Sexual Health and HIV Research at UCL and in the Office for Public Management, where he conducted research on public service improvement. He has a BSc in Psychology and an MA in Gender Studies from the University of Leeds, and a PhD in Sociology from the University of Cambridge.

Research Interests

Much of Robert’s research has focused on the question of how people approach the prospect of having (or not having) children when imagining the future. His PhD study examined how parenthood had become more thinkable, and ‘talkable’, for lesbian, gay and bisexual people in Britain, while his postdoctoral work explored reproductive imaginations of gay men living with HIV and their interactions with HIV clinicians. More recently, Robert has studied the notion of desire (as in sexual desire and the desire to have a child) as a driving force behind the demand for medical interventions and the ethical dilemmas in financial decision-making in healthcare.


Robert has 12 years of teaching experience at the University of Cambridge. In addition to lecturing and supervising on various papers on the Human, Social and Political Sciences Tripos, he has taught on the Medical Sciences Tripos (social context of health and illness) and the Psychological and Behavioural Sciences Tripos (sociology of the family). Between 2017 and 2022, Robert was the medical sociology subject manager on the MPhil in Health, Medicine and Society. In 2017-2018, he coordinated the sociology of reproduction pathway on the MPhil in Sociology and organised undergraduate teaching in the sociology of gender. He currently also contributes to teaching on the MPhil in Population Health Sciences.


Pralat R, Anderson J, Burns F and Barber TJ (2023) Asked to be a sperm donor: Disclosure dilemmas of gay men living with HIV.  Culture, Health & Sexuality.

Pralat R, Burns F, Anderson J and Barber TJ (2021) Can HIV-positive gay men become parents? How men living with HIV and HIV clinicians talk about the possibility of having children. Sociology of Health & Illness 43(2): 281–298.

Pralat R, Anderson J, Burns F, Yarrow E and Barber TJ (2021) Discussing parenthood with gay men diagnosed with HIV: A qualitative study of patient and healthcare practitioner perspectives.  BMC Public Health 21: 2300.

Pralat R (2021) Sexual identities and reproductive orientations: Coming out as wanting (or not wanting) to have children. Sexualities 24(1–2): 276–294.

Pralat R (2020) Parenthood as intended: Reproductive responsibility, moral judgements and having children ‘by accident’. The Sociological Review 68(1): 161–176.

Pralat R (2018) More natural does not equal more normal: Lesbian, gay, and bisexual people’s views about different pathways to parenthood. Journal of Family Issues 39(18): 4179–4203.

Pralat R (2016) Between future families and families of origin: Talking about gay parenthood across generations. In: Pooley S and Qureshi K (eds) Parenthood Between Generations: Transforming Reproductive Cultures. Oxford: Berghahn Books, pp. 43–64.

Pralat R (2015) Repro-sexual intersections: Sperm donation, HIV prevention and the public interest in semen. Reproductive Biomedicine Online 30(3): 211–219.

Grants and Projects

Technologies of Desire, funded by the Leverhulme Trust and the Isaac Newton Trust (2018–2022)

Men's Attitudes to Intimate Life, funded by the British HIV Association and the Wellcome Trust (2015-2018)

Research Groups & Affiliations


Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship 2018
British HIV Association Research Award 2014
Job Title:
Research Associate
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