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.
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
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
Assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs)
ARTs: now and the future
Ethics of ARTs
Surrogacy case study
MOOCs stand for Massive Open Online Courses. These arefree online courses from universities around the world (eg. StanfordHarvardMIT) offered to anyone with an internet connection.
How do I register?
To register for a course, click on "Go to Class" button on the course page. This will take you to the providers website where you can register for the course.
How do these MOOCs or free online courses work?
MOOCs are designed for an online audience, teaching primarily through short (5-20 min.) pre recorded video lectures, that you watch on weekly schedule when convenient for you. They also have student discussion forums, homework/assignments, and online quizzes or exams.