• Length:
    5 Weeks
  • Effort:
    2–3 hours per week
  • Price:

    FREE
    Add a Verified Certificate for $49 USD

  • Institution
  • Subject:
  • Level:
    Introductory
  • Language:
    English
  • Video Transcript:
    English

Prerequisites

None

About this course

Are you trying to conceive? Do you want to prevent conception (contraception)? Would you like to know more about your fertility?

Have you considered how social factors influence the choices we make about sex and reproduction? What about the latest technological developments in assisted conception (otherwise known as IVF)? Join world leader in human reproduction, Laureate Professor John Aitken, as we explore the biological, technological, and social factors that influence human reproduction.

In this course you will learn how sperm and eggs are made; the events that result in fertilisation and conception; and how a healthy baby develops and is born.

These biological principles will be studied alongside social factors such as the construct of family, education, poverty, and sexuality.

This course will also examine the enormous role of Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ARTs) such as IVF in modern society.

What you'll learn

  • Discuss both male and female reproductive development in humans
  • Describe the processes of fertilisation, conception and pregnancy in humans
  • Define relevant factors limiting human fertility, and how these can be overcome
  • Discuss the ethical issues and standards around ARTs
  • Articulate how access to contraception impacts upon our social, political, and clinical wellbeing
  • Describe issues related to sex and sexualities in Western societies
Week 1: Gametes, Fertilization & Conception
  • Sex hormones & reproductive systems
  • Eggs & sperm
  • Fertilisation & implantation
  • Obstacles to conception
  • Social policy and fertility rates: global trends in fertility
  • Projection of Australia’s population
  • Policy options to decrease or increase fertility
  • Historical changes in fertility rates
Week 2: Pregnancy, Placenta & Birth
  • Placentation
  • Fetal development/maternal adaptation to pregnancy/ Labour
  • Pregnancy and complications
  • Developmental origins of health & disease
  • Sociological approaches to the intergenerational cycle of disease
  • Social aspects of pregnancy and childbirth
Week 3: Contraception
  • The history and importance of contraception
  • Methods of Contraception
  • Effectiveness and Health Risks
  • New technologies in male contraception
  • Contraceptive use in Australia
Week 4: Sex & Sexuality: Social Constructionism & Biology
  • Biological sexual differentiation
  • The social construction of sex and sexuality
  • Psychiatry and homosexuality
Week 5: Infertility & Assisted Reproduction
  • Infertility
  • Assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs)
  • ARTs: now and the future
  • Ethics of ARTs
  • Surrogacy case study

Meet your instructors

John Aitken
Laureate Professor, Pro Vice-Chancellor Health and Medicine (Biological Sciences), Director of Priority Research Centre for Reproductive Science
The University of Newcastle, Australia
Jessie Sutherland
NHMRC Early Career Fellow, School of Biomedical Science & Pharmacy
The University of Newcastle, Australia
Alan Hayes AM
Distinguished Professor of Family Studies and Director, Family Action Centre School of Health Sciences
The University of Newcastle, Australia
Kirsty Pringle
ARC Future Fellow, School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy (Pharmacy and Experimental Pharmacology)
The University of Newcastle, Australia
Ann Taylor
Lecturer, School of Humanities and Social Science (Sociology and Anthropology)
The University of Newcastle, Australia
Catherine Chojenta
Post Doctoral Research Fellow, Faculty of Health and Medicine
The University of Newcastle, Australia
Jacqueline Coombe
PhD Candidate Research, School of Medicine and Public Health
The University of Newcastle, Australia
Marguerite Johnson
Associate Professor, School of Humanities and Social Science (Classics)
The University of Newcastle, Australia
James Bennett
Senior Lecturer, School of Humanities and Social Science (History)
The University of Newcastle, Australia
Daniela Heil
Senior Lecturer, School of Humanities and Social Science (Sociology and Anthropology)
The University of Newcastle, Australia

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