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Profile: Dr Sarah Earle

Dr Sarah Earle

About me

Sarah is a medical sociologist with a long-standing interest in reproductive and sexual health. This began with the completion of my doctoral thesis in 1998, which focused on women’s embodiment in pregnancy, childbirth and early motherhood. Her interest in women’s embodiment and reproductive agency has continued and more recently she led empirical research projects focusing on pre-conception care for women with pre-existing type I and type II diabetes (funded by the NIHR), the contraceptive experiences of women with learning disabilities (funded by Open Society Foundations) and, a systematic review of the international literature on men’s role in infant feeding.

Sarah has published widely on the sociology of human reproduction, including two international edited collections Understanding Reproductive Loss: International Perspectives on Life, Death and Fertility (published by Routledge) and Gender, Identity & Reproduction: Social Perspectives (published by Palgrave).

Between 2000 and 2011, Sarah chaired the British Sociological Association’s Human Reproduction Study Group. She is now the Social Sciences sub-editor for the international multi-disciplinary peer-reviewed journal Human Fertility, which is dedicated to furthering research and promoting good practice in the areas of human fertility and infertility.

Currently, Sarah is the Director of The Open University’s interdisciplinary Priority Research Area in ‘Health & Wellbeing’ and a member of its Sexuality & Reproduction Special Interest Group.


Sarah has contributed to a number of OU courses, including Promoting Public Health (K311), Working for Health (K201) and Death and Dying (K260).

Public engagement

Sarah has written articles for The Conversation (see: and OpenLearn (for example:


Dr Sarah Earle's research

Lindsay O’Dell et al. (2018-11-27) Role of peer support for people with a spinal cord injury, In Nursing Standard 4(34)

Sarah Earle and Robin Hadley (2018-07) Men’s views and experiences of infant feeding: A qualitative systematic review, In Maternal and Child Nutrition 3(14)

Sarah Earle and Robin Hadley (2018-03) A systematic review of men’s views and experiences of infant feeding: implications for midwifery practice, In MIDIRS Midwifery Digest 1(28)

Maddie Blackburn, Lizzie Chambers and Sarah Earle (2017-10) Editorial - Talking about sex, relationships and intimacy: new guidance and standards for nurses and other health and social care professionals working with young people with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions, In Journal of Advanced Nursing 10(73)

Sarah Earle et al. (2017-04-07) Preconception care for women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes mellitus: a mixed-methods study exploring uptake of preconception care, In Health Technology Assessment 14(21)

Jan Walmsley et al. (2016-10-27) The experiences of women with learning disabilities on contraception choice, In Primary Health Care 9(26)

Susan Ledger et al. (2016-09-01) Contraceptive decision-making and women with learning disabilities, In Sexualities 5-6(19)

Jan Walmsley et al. (2016-03) Contraceptive choices for women with learning disabilities, In Learning Disability Practice 2(19), RCNi

Sarah Earle et al. (2015-05) Contraceptive choices for women with learning disabilities, The Open University

Maddie Blackburn, Sarah Earle and Carol Komaromy (2015-04) Relationships and sexuality in young adults with life-limiting conditions in England, In Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health Annual Conference 2015 Suppl3(100)

Browse Dr Sarah Earle's latest research on Open Research Online