University of Technology Sydney

92029 Therapeutic Communication in Reproductive Health

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2020 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Health
Credit points: 6 cp

Subject level:


Result type: Grade and marks


Health practitioners working in reproduction and fertility require well-developed therapeutic communication skills and a sound understanding of the psychosocial issues associated with infertility. This subject is based on a population health approach to enable mental health promotion and the early recognition of protective and risk factors that impact during assisted reproduction and early pregnancy. Psychological wellbeing is explored using understandings of cultural constructs and students develop the skills to critically discuss community perceptions about infertility. Skills in interviewing and assessment are developed, and students explore best practice approaches for the management of psychosocial and mental health problems and illness as they relate to infertility.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:
A. Identify and utilize effective therapeutic communication skills for collaborative practice with consumers of assisted reproduction services
B. Critically explore emotional health issues associated with infertility and the related interventions
C. Examine mental health risk factors related to infertility and the relationship to cultural understandings and practices
D. Appraise and utilize supportive and therapeutic interventions for health care consumers at risk of, or experiencing, anxiety, grief, emotional distress or other mental health issue, including appropriate referrals for mental health interventions
E. Describe the principles of collaborative practice when working with health care consumers and their families
F. Examine mechanisms to develop, maintain and promote well-being for self and colleagues

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes specifically to the following graduate attributes:

  • Translate and integrate evidence to identify and address human fertility needs, to ensure the delivery of quality health care (1.1)
  • Locate and apply knowledge of the physiology and pathophysiology of fertility and infertility to deliver effective and appropriate health care (1.2)
  • Relate the provision of assisted reproductive health care to wider questions of equity, politics, ethics, society and culture (1.3)
  • Apply context specific knowledge and judgment to the development and delivery of human fertility and assisted reproduction services (3.3)
  • Adapt and utilise evidence-based health promotion strategies, to educate consumers of human fertility and assisted reproduction services (4.2)
  • Evaluate current and emerging issues in human fertility and assisted reproduction to improve health outcomes, promote consumer engagement and facilitate evidence-based decision-making (5.1)
  • Appreciate quality, risk and cost factors related to healthcare utilisation and choice in relation to fertility decision-making (5.2)

Teaching and learning strategies

This subject is taught using a variety of teaching and learning strategies. The strategies used emphasize the active application of knowledge. Learning in this subject will involve self-directed learning activities for each of the modules, attending the two-day workshop at UTS and actively participating in group discussions online. To this end students will be required to read provided material, and source any relevant media in order to prepare for the weekly learning activities and exercises. Resources will be provided on UTS online.

You will be provided with valuable, on-line discussion stimuli and feedback from teaching staff at the workshops to assist you in developing your learning and understanding your progress in this subject.

Active Learning Modules
Active learning modules are a structured, student -centred set of online learning activities that aim to develop significant changes in the performance, knowledge, skills, behaviours and attitudes of students for communication. The learning modules are used widely in the health sector and are directed at adult learners by ensuring control of the learning is left in their hands. They begin with a subject outline, reading materials and brought to completion by self- review and further research if required. Students should read all assessment tasks at the commencement of the course to guide the student’s further research needs.

Online Discussion
As a strategy to engage students in deeper analysis of relevant sub-topics and to complete assessment task 1, students will be required to make weekly postings in the discussion board in UTSOnline. In preparation for the weekly postings, students will read papers, source podcasts/film clips and reflect on the issues presented in order to respond to key questions and engage in debate on these issues with other students in the on-line forum.

Face to Face Workshop
Two compulsory workshop days will be held at UTS and will involve discussions, group work and lectures. These strategies will incorporate the development of professional presentation skills for students and encompass theoretical content delivered through guest speaker lectures. Time and feedback will be provided to assist students to develop their assessments and learning.

Content (topics)

Psychosocial care in infertility and assisted reproductive treatment (ART) care

  • Understanding evidence based guidelines and how to implement them
  • Male specific needs
  • Socio-cultural aspects of infertility
  • Third-party reproduction
  • Promoting preconception health
  • Cryopreservation of reproductive material for medical and non-medical indications

Therapeutic communication skills

  • Interviewing skills
  • Communicating about chance of ART success
  • Collaborative, recovery-focused practice
  • Psychosocial support during assisted reproduction
  • Management of anxiety, emotional distress and grief
  • Individual and colleague support

ART regulation and professional standards

  • NHMRC regulation
  • Professional ART societies
  • Data reporting requirements


Assessment task 1: On-line stimulus blogs


The intent of this assessment is to engage students in deeper analysis of relevant sub-topics. The provision of sustained analysis and being exposed to the opinions and observations of other students is valuable to the learning experience.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

B, C, D and F

This assessment task contributes to the development of graduate attribute(s):

1.1 and 4.2

Weight: 30%

600 words per topic

Assessment task 2: Best practice psychosocial care in ART: learning from the evidence presentation


The purpose of the task is to learn how to appraise evidence relating to psychosocial care in the context of infertility and ART and how to use evidence to inform therapeutic communication.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A, B and E

This assessment task contributes to the development of graduate attribute(s):

1.1, 1.2 and 5.1

Weight: 35%

10 minute presentation +1200 written words comprising outline of presentation.

Assessment task 3: Understanding IVF success rates paper


Knowing what the chance is of having a baby as a result of treatment is of fundamental interest to those who consider ART. But, understanding information about success rates can be difficult because it depends on how it is presented. In this assessment, students will evaluate the quality of information about chance of having a baby with ART provided on an Australian ART clinic’s website of their choice and make recommendations (based on evidence) for how it could be improved.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A and E

This assessment task contributes to the development of graduate attribute(s):

1.3, 3.3 and 5.2

Weight: 35%

2000 words

Required texts

Refer to UTSOnline for a full list of required texts.


Refer to UTSOnline for access to up to date references for this subject.

Other resources

UTS Student Centre
Building 10
Monday to Friday: 9am - 5pm
Tel: 1300 ASK UTS (1300 275 887)

Details for student centres:
For other resources/information refer to the Faculty of Health website (, the Health Student Guide ( and UTSOnline at:

UTS Library
The Library has a wide range of resources, facilities and services to support you including textbooks, subject readings, old exam papers, academic writing guides, health literature databases, workshops, a gaming room and bookable group study rooms. There is also a team of librarians to help you with all your questions.
W:, Facebook: utslibrary, Twitter: @utslibrary Tel: (02) 9514 3666

Improve your academic and English language skills
Marks for all assessment tasks such as assignments and examinations are given not only for what you write but also for how you write. If you would like the opportunity to improve your academic and English language skills, make an appointment with the HELPS (Higher Education Language & Presentation Support) Service in Student Services.

HELPS (Higher Education Language & Presentation Support)
HELPS provides assistance with English language proficiency and academic language. Students who need to develop their written and/or spoken English should make use of the free services offered by HELPS, including academic language workshops, vacation intensive courses, drop-in consultations, individual appointments and Conversations@UTS ( HELPS staff are also available for drop-in consultations at the UTS Library. Phone (02) 9514 9733

Please see for additional information on other resources provided to students by UTS.