Virginia Tech™home

Seminar: Data Work in Fertility Care: Individual, Technological, and Social Perspectives

Mayara Costa Figueiredo

PhD Candidate, University of California, Irvine

Friday, February 12, 2021
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Zoom Only

Mayara Costa Figueiredo


The uptake of self-tracking technologies made it possible for people to interact with extensive personal data and engage in intense data work, such as collecting, managing, curating, analyzing, and communicating data. My research examines individuals’ data work in the context of personal health and explores the influences of different social and technological factors on individuals’ relationships with data.

In this talk, I discuss my research on the data work involved in tracking female fertility, particularly with the goal of conceiving. (In)Fertility is a complex, personalized health issue, loaded with stigma and social taboos. I present the results of three studies, describing the challenges of tracking and engaging with fertility data, how current fertility technologies support individuals’ data work, and how their data work is embedded in the larger ecologies of care, including interpersonal, technological, and social contexts. Based on these results, I discuss the role of technology in shaping individuals’ data work, supporting their tracking activities, and conveying societal stereotypes and expectations. I conclude this talk by presenting opportunities for designing data-driven consumer health technologies and using personal data to counter influence the negative impacts of the broader ecologies of care.


Mayara Costa Figueiredo is a Ph.D. candidate at the Informatics Department at the University of California, Irvine. Her research interests lie at the intersections of Human-Computer Interaction, Computer-Supported Cooperative Work, and Health informatics. Figueiredo’s research focuses on the data work individuals perform when self-tracking for health. Her research examines how data work influences individuals’ daily lives, and how technological, organizational, and societal factors influence and shape their data work. Her current research centers on fertility self-tracking and the role technology plays in this complex and emotionally loaded context.

Figueiredo has been awarded the Microsoft Dissertation Fellowship in 2020 and the UCI Miguel Velez Endowment Scholarship for Latin American Scholars. Figueiredo’s research has been published in leading human-computer interaction and health informatics venues such as CSCW, JAMIA, AMIA, and the Foundations and Trends® in Human-Computer Interaction. Her papers have received an honorable mention award at CSCW 2020 and the 3rd place award at AMIA 2017 students’ competition. Figueiredo received a B.S., and M.S. degree in Computer Science from Universidade Federal do Pará, in Brazil.