Fertility and Reproductive Health in Women Physicians

Priscila Rodrigues Armijo, Laura Flores, Linda Huynh, Sheritta Strong, Shivani Mukkamala, Sasha Shillcutt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Our aim was to evaluate trends of childbearing during medical training, evaluate issues of infertility, and measure institutionalized barriers to childbearing among women physicians. Materials and Methods: Attendees of a national women physician's leadership conference (Brave Enough Women Physicians Continuing Medical Education Conference) were surveyed during the conference using Qualtrics (2019 Qualtrics, Provo, UT), in September 2019. Survey data included demographics, training level, and medical specialty. Data related to reproductive health factors, pregnancy status and history, current number of children, medical history related to pregnancy, breastfeeding history, institutional family planning support, and use of previous fertility treatments were collected. Descriptive analyses were done using IBM SPSS v26.0. Results: Three hundred seventy-seven survey participants were included in the study. 10.6% of respondents reported at least one pregnancy during medical school, versus 78.8% as a practicing physician. Of the participants, 25.8% reported having taken off 1 month or less of clinical duties after giving birth, 39.4% reported that their job prevented breastfeeding for the desired length of time, and 52.2% reported significant workplace limitations to breastfeeding. Of them, 25.5% reported having had fertility issues in the past. Fertility drugs (72.9%) was the most common fertility treatment method used, followed by fertility tracking (54.2%). Demands of training (72.9%) and long work hours (61.5%) were the most cited factors in delaying having children as reported by women physicians. Conclusions: This study reported several barriers related to fertility, family planning, and reproductive health among women physicians. Our results highlight the need for a paradigm shift in fertility awareness and institutional support for childbearing during medical training, postgraduate training programs, and in practice for women in medicine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1713-1719
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Women's Health
Volume30
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021

Keywords

  • family planning services
  • fertility
  • infertility
  • reproductive health
  • women physicians

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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