Dr Giselle Newton

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences


Dr Giselle Newton (she/her) is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Digital Cultures and Societies Hub, and Centre for Policy Futures in the Faculty of Humanities Arts Social Sciences. Giselle also holds an appointment as Adjunct Associate Lecturer at the Centre for Social Research in Health at UNSW, Sydney.

Giselle is a digital health sociologist whose research is focused on understanding how reproductive and genetic technologies (re)shape personal and familial relationships. In her work, Giselle considers how people with lived experience participate and position themselves in research, policy reform, and development of support and services. Giselle is also interested in digital, qualitative and creative research methods and ethics, and has lead research training on these topics.

Current project:

· DNA datascapes: Experiences and imaginaries of DNA datafication

Past projects:

· On target: Understanding advertising in the fertility sector with data from the Australian Ad Observatory, a winter research collaboration with Romy Wilson Gray and Maria Proctor.

· Understanding care endings: Sociological and educational approaches to support pathways out of caring

Giselle completed her PhD at the Centre for Social Research in Health at UNSW, Sydney in August 2022. Giselle's PhD study explored how digital technologies such as social media and direct-to-consumer DNA testing have afforded donor-conceived people new opportunities to bond, sleuth, educate and strategise. Giselle’s thesis entitled “Everyday belongings: Exploring Australian donor-conceived adults’ social, linguistic and digital practices across private and public domains” won Dean’s Award for Outstanding PhD Theses in 2022.

In Semester 1, 2024, Giselle is lecturing in HHSS6000 Humanities Arts Social Sciences Honours Research Design. Giselle has also coordinated large compulsory courses such as COMU2030 Communication Research Methods (S1, 2023).

Currently supervising:

Lauren Hayden (PhD candidate, UQ) - Digital advertising and cultures of alcohol consumption on social media platforms

Cushla McKinney (Master of Genetic Counselling student, UTS) - The impact of direct-to-consumer DNA testing on genetic counselling practice

Diya Dilip Porwal (Master of Genetic Counselling student, UTS) - Experiences of carrier screening and genetic testing in gamete donors

Areas of supervision: Giselle welcomes research proposals focused on social research in digital identities and cultures; digital family practices; sexual and reproductive health; DNA and genetic testing/screening; reproductive donation.

Research Impacts

As a donor-conceived person herself, Giselle's research is grounded in advocacy regarding access to information about family and health for all donor-conceived people worldwide. Giselle was an invited delegate to the 30-year anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child at the United Nations with group of donor-conceived advocates. Following this monumental event, delegates devised the International Principles for Donor Conception and Surrogacy, world-first minimum standards in donor conception. At a national and state level, Giselle has contributed to several legislative reviews and inquiries including the Review of the Human Reproductive Technology Act 1991 (WA), Assisted Reproductive Treatment Amendment Bill 2021 (SA), Mitochondrial Donation Law Reform Bill 2021 (Cth), Inquiry into Matters Relating to Donor Conception Information 2022 (QLD), and Review of the Privacy Act (Cth). Giselle is also a member of the inaugural national peak body for donor-conceived people, Donor Conceived Australia.


View all Publications


Book Chapter

Journal Article

Other Outputs