The University of Newcastle, Australia
Fast facts Starts 9 October, 2019
Duration

5 weeks

Effort

2-3 hours per week

Cost

FREE - Certificate for US$49

Subject

Biology and Life Sciences

Level

Introductory

About this course

How are advances in reproductive science impacting fertility, society, and ultimately, the long-term future of our species? What are the social factors that influence the choices we make about reproduction?

Led by a world leader in reproductive biology research, Laureate Professor John Aitken, the course has been prepared by professors, research fellows, and researchers across biological science, health, sociology, anthropology, classics and history.

The course will examine how sperm and eggs (gametes) are made; how fertilisation is achieved; and successful pregnancy initiated, maintained and completed at birth. These developmental principles will be studied alongside social factors such as the construct of family, education, poverty, and sexuality. The course will also look at how Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ARTs) combine with these factors to dramatically affect the reproductive choices people make.

What you'll learn

  • A broad understanding of male and female reproductive development in humans
  • A basic knowledge of the process of gamete transport, fertilisation, conception and pregnancy in humans
  • Articulate how access to contraception impacts upon our social, political, and clinical wellbeing
  • Describe issues related to sex and sexualities in Western societies
  • Determine relevant factors limiting human fertility, and how these can be overcome
  • Develop an awareness of ethical issues and standards around ARTs

Course Syllabus

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 the instructors

Laureate Professor John Aitken

Laureate Professor John Aitken

Pro Vice-Chancellor Health and Medicine (Biological Sciences), Director of Priority Research Centre for Reproductive Science

Dr Jessie Sutherland

Dr Jessie Sutherland

NHMRC Early Career Fellow, School of Biomedical Science & Pharmacy

Professor Alan Hayes AM

Professor Alan Hayes AM

Distinguished Professor of Family Studies and Director, Family Action Centre School of Health Sciences

Dr Kirsty Pringle

Dr Kirsty Pringle

ARC Future Fellow, School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy (Pharmacy and Experimental Pharmacology)

Dr Ann Taylor

Dr Ann Taylor

Lecturer, School of Humanities and Social Science (Sociology and Anthropology)

Dr Catherine Chojenta

Dr Catherine Chojenta

Post Doctoral Research Fellow, Faculty of Health and Medicine

Jacqueline Coombe

Jacqueline Coombe

PhD Candidate Research, School of Medicine and Public Health

Professor Marguerite Johnson

Professor Marguerite Johnson

School of Humanities and Social Science (Classics)

Dr James Bennett

Dr James Bennett

Senior Lecturer, School of Humanities and Social Science (History)

Dr Daniela Heil

Dr Daniela Heil

Senior Lecturer, School of Humanities and Social Science (Sociology and Anthropology)


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