Ezra Kneebone

PhD candidate profile

Ezra Kneebone

BSc, GradDipRepSc

Ezra Kneebone

I have a keen interest in the ethical aspects of assisted reproductive technologies and the implications this has on public policy and individual experience.

Congratulations to Ezra on winning the prestigious Mahendran Mahadevan PhD Scholarship, supporting her postgraduate research in reproductive biology and infertility! Read more below.

PhD candidate Ezra Kneebone is investigating the needs of Australian surrogates and intended parents. Her research will also investigate the extent of domestic and international arrangements undertaken by Australian intended parents.

Ms Kneebone grew up in Perth, Western Australia. She moved to Melbourne in 2014 to undertake her studies at Monash University; completing a Bachelor of Science in developmental biology, followed by a Graduate Diploma in reproductive sciences.

Ms Kneebone began her PhD in 2020 under the supervision of Dr Kiri Beilby and Dr Karin Hammarberg. Ms Kneebone was drawn to the Global and Women’s Health unit because she felt that one of the team’s overarching aims, ‘to reduce health inequalities in global and local contexts’, is pertinent to discussions on surrogacy.

“I have a keen interest in the ethical aspects of assisted reproductive technologies and the implications this has on public policy and individual experience,” says Ms Kneebone.

The international market often relies on women from low- and middle-income countries to act as surrogates which has raised concerns of exploitative practises.

“While surrogacy provides the opportunity of parenthood to those who historically have been unable to have children, arrangements must be conducted in a manner that protects the health and well-being of all participants, including surrogates and the children born as a result of such arrangements,” says Ms Kneebone.

According to Ms Kneebone the rapid growth of the global surrogacy market and the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought many issues in to the spotlight.

“COVID-19 has highlighted the complex and unpredictable nature of international arrangements, with border closures preventing intended parents from travelling to and from their surrogacy destination,” says Ms Kneebone.

The challenges inherent in international surrogacy can be avoided if more arrangements are conducted domestically she says.

“Policies facilitating domestic surrogacy can be informed by an understanding of surrogates’ and intended parents’ needs,” says Ms Kneebone.

Ms Kneebone says that she draws inspiration from her colleagues, particularly her supervisors, who have dedicated their careers to improving the health of all, to bridge the gap between research and policy, and to teach the future scientists and researchers.

Professor Mahendran MahadevanMahendran Mahadevan PhD Scholarship

Shaping tomorrow’s leaders in reproductive biology and infertility

Reproductive health is a key global challenge that affects every individual, as it both reflects and determines the health of present and future generations. With an increasing number of couples seeking the use of assisted reproductive technologies and the rapidly increasing world population, new approaches are needed in the field of fertility research.

The Mahendran Mahadevan PhD Scholarship generously funded by Professor Mahedran Mahadevan nurtures a pipeline of reproductive health researchers by supporting students undertaking postgraduate research in the field of reproductive biology and infertility.

The gift is made in honour of Dr Alan Trounson and Dr John Leeton, influential PhD supervisors of Professor Mahadevan during his training at Monash University.