The Psychosocial Health and Wellbeing Research (emPoWeR) Unit

Group Leader Email Number Webpage
Dr Michelle Peate +61 3 8345 3792 View page

Research Overview

The Psychosocial Health and Wellbeing Research (emPoWeR) Unit is part of the the Gynaecology Research Centre, situated at the Royal Women’s Hospital. The Gynaecology Research Centre is the first centre in Australia to bring together clinical and laboratory expertise to investigate a wide range of common gynaecological issues and provide greater understanding to improve prevention, diagnosis and management of conditions.

The emPoWeR Unit conducts research with a focus on the psychological, emotional and social aspects of reproductive health. The unit has a particular focus  on the overall wellbeing of people impacted by gynaecological issues and infertilty, and the quality of life factors that arise as a consequence of these conditions. The goal of the unit is to develop tools that can help improve the experience of people facing these sorts of challenges.

Specific research areas include:

  • Family planning and fertility preservation for women with breast cancer
  • Family planning and fertility preservation for children with cancer
  • Age-related infertility and egg freezing for women
  • Sexual dysfunction in cancer survivors
  • Decision-making support tools for infertile couples



We have current collaborations with Harvard University, The Dana Farber Cancer Institute (Harvard), the Oncofertility Consortium (Northwestern University), UNSW, University of Sydney, Monash, Melbourne IVF, IVF Australia, Genea, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Swinburne University, Breast Cancer Network Australia, Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority, Edinburgh University, and others.


  • National Breast Cancer Foundation
  • Victorian Cancer Agency

Research Publications

Peate M, Meiser B, Hickey M, et al. It's Now or Never: Fertility-Related Knowledge, Decision-Making Preferences, and Treatment Intentions in Young Women With Breast Cancer--An Australian Fertility Decision Aid Collaborative Group Study. Journal Of Clinical Oncology  2011;29(13):1670-1677

Peate M, Meiser B, Friedlander M, et al. Making hard choices easier: a prospective, multicentre study to assess the efficacy of a fertility-related decision aid in young women with early-stage breast cancer. British Journal Of Cancer 2012;106(6):1053-1061-

uraskova I, Jarvis S, Friedlander M, et al. The Acceptability, Feasibility, and Efficacy (Phase I/II Study) of the OVERcome (Olive Oil, Vaginal Exercise, and MoisturizeR) Intervention to Improve Dyspareunia and Alleviate Sexual Problems in Women with Breast Cancer. Journal Of Sexual Medicine 2013;(10):2549-2559

Hickey M, Peate M, Anderson. Letter:  Should cryopreservation of oocytes be discussed with all women in their 30’s? New England Journal of Medicine 2016; 374:287-288.