Assistant Professor

Alana Cattapan profile picture.Areas of Specialization

  • Gender and public policy
  • Reproductive justice
  • Public engagement
  • Community-engaged research
  • Health policy and biotechnology
  • Canadian politics


BA (Ottawa), MA (Toronto), PhD (York)

Alana Cattapan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Waterloo. She studies gendered inclusion in policy making, identifying links between the state, the commercialization of the body, and reproductive labour. She is also a Board member and the Research and Action Chair of the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women, and part of the organizing group of Rise Up! A Digital Archive of Feminist Activism.

Before joining the University of Waterloo, she was an Assistant Professor at the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy at the University of Saskatchewan, where she was also an Associate Member of the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology. Prior to that appointment, she was a CIHR Postdoctoral Fellow at Novel Tech Ethics in the Faculty of Medicine at Dalhousie University, focusing on interest group organizing for infertility care, and the governance of reproductive tissues.

She has published peer-reviewed articles in Studies in Political Economy, the Canadian Medical Association JournalPublic Affairs Quarterly, the Canadian Journal of Women and the Law, and the Journal of Medical Ethics, among others. She is also the co-editor of Surrogacy in Canada: Critical Perspectives in Law and Policy (Irwin Law, 2018). 

Current Research

Dr. Cattapan is currently investigating the emergence of the concept of “women of reproductive age” in biomedical research ethics and public health campaigns, focusing on the Canadian case. She is also the 2018-2019 recipient of the James Kreppner Award from Canadian Blood Services to conduct research on variation in provincial exemptions on sale in Canadian human tissue legislation. She is also conducting community-engaged research with Sanctum 1.5, a prenatal home for women at high-risk of contracting HIV/AIDS in Saskatoon. These projects draw together a range of methodological approaches, using a combination of archival research, interviews, talking circles, focus groups, socio-medical file review, and discourse analysis (of media publications, Hansards, meeting minutes, policy documents).

Current grants

  • 2018-2019. “Of Skin, Sperm, and Blood: A Comparative Analysis of Exemptions in Human Tissue Legislation.” James Kreppner Award (Canadian Blood Services) Principal Investigator.
  • 2018-2019. “Sanctum 1.5: Narrative Data and Policy Evaluation for an HIV Prenatal Home.” SSHRC Partnership Engage Grant. Principal Investigator.
  • 2017-2020: “Perpetually, Potentially Pregnant: Women of Childbearing Age in Public Health Policy and Biomedical Research.” CIHR New Investigator Award in Maternal, Reproductive, and Child Health (with support from the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation, the University of Saskatchewan, University of Waterloo). Principal Investigator.

Selected Publications


  • Bisaillon, Laura, Alana Cattapan, Lorena Anton, Annelieke Driessen, et. al. “My Body Literally Shut Down: Doing Academia Differently.” Feminist Studies (accepted, forthcoming 2019).
  • Cattapan, Alana and Dave Snow. “Everything and Nothing: Regulating Embryo Research in Canada.” New Genetics and Society 36.1 (2017): 43-65.
  • Cattapan, Alana. “Precarious Labour: On Egg Donation as Work.” Studies in Political Economy 97.3 (2016): 234-252.
  • Cattapan, Alana and Quinn DuPont. “Moving Forward, Looking Back: Taking Canadian Feminist Histories Online.” Atlantis: Critical Studies in Gender, Culture, and Social Justice 37.2 (2016): 225-237.
  • Cattapan, Alana. “Good Eggs? Evaluating Consent Forms for Egg Donation.” Journal of Medical Ethics 42.7 (2016): 455-459.
  • Cattapan, Alana and Ashley Doyle. “Patient Decision Making on the Disposition of Surplus Cryopreserved Embryos in Canada.” Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada 38.1 (2016): 60-66.
  • Cattapan, Alana and Françoise Baylis. “Frozen in Perpetuity? ‘Abandoned Embryos’ in Canada.” Reproductive Biomedicine and Society Online 1.2 (2015):104-112.
  • Cattapan, Alana and Dave Snow. “Of Research and Reproduction: Defining Embryo Research in Canada.” Monash Bioethics Review 33.4 (2015): 379-395.
  • Petropanagos Angel, Alana Cattapan, Françoise Baylis, and Art Leader. “Social egg freezing: risk, benefits and other considerations.” Canadian Medical Association Journal. 187.9 (2015): 666-669.
  • Cattapan, Alana. “Risky Business: Surrogacy, Egg Donation, and the Politics of Exploitation.” Canadian Journal of Law and Society, 29.3 (2014): 361-379.
  • Cattapan, Alana, Katie Hammond, Jennie Haw, and Lesley Tarasoff. “Breaking the Ice: Young Feminist Scholars of Reproductive Politics Reflect on Egg Freezing.” International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics, 7.2 (2014): 236-247.
  • Cattapan, Alana. “Rhetoric and Reality: ‘Protecting’ Women in Canadian Public Policy on Assisted Human Reproduction.” Canadian Journal of Women and the Law 25.2 (2013): 202-220.


  • Baylis, Françoise and Alana Cattapan. “Personalized Medicine and the Politics of Human Genome Transfer.” In Personalised Medicine, Individual Choice, and the Common Good. Britta van Beers, Sigrid Sterckx, and Donna Dickenson, eds. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2018. pp.17-36.
  • Cattapan, Alana. “On Reproductive Citizenship: Thinking About Social Rights and Assisted Reproduction in Canada.” In Fertile Ground: Exploring Reproduction in Canada. Stephanie Paterson, Francesca Scala, and Marlene Sokolon, eds. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2014. pp.152-177.
University of Waterloo
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