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Childbearing Plans of Obstetrics and Gynecology Residents and Residents in Other Specialties: A National Survey

Purpose: To compare childbearing plans of resident physicians in obstetrics and gynecology (ob-gyn) with those of residents in other specialties.


Background: Residents may postpone childbearing during training. The association between specialty and likelihood of postponement has not been evaluated. 


Methods: An online survey about childbearing plans was sent to United States residency program directors in ob-gyn, internal medicine, emergency medicine, family medicine, general surgery, pediatrics, and psychiatry. They were asked to forward the survey to their respective residents. Wilcoxon rank-sum test or Chi-square test was used to compare survey responses between ob-gyn and non-ob-gyn residents.


Results: Surveys were completed by 450 (15.9%) ob-gyn residents and 2,378 (84.1%) non-ob-gyn residents. Residents in both groups planned to have their first child at a median age of 30 (P=.32) and their last child at a median age of 35 years (P=.76). The proportion of residents who had or planned to have a child during residency was similar between groups (33.9% for ob-gyn vs. 35.5% for non-ob-gyn residents, P=.50). Finances (27.8% vs. 30.8%, P=.22), career challenges (22.7% vs. 25.9%%, P=.15), and infertility (6.0% vs. 6.7%, P=.62) were commonly identified obstacles for all residents. Over half of female residents in both groups would consider oocyte cryopreservation for fertility preservation (55.5% vs. 57.8%, P=.43).


Discussions: Ob-gyn and non-ob-gyn residents have similar childbearing goals. Regardless of specialty, residents report finances, career, and personal infertility history as barriers to family building. Given these challenges, many residents would consider oocyte cryopreservation as an option to preserve fertility.

Topics: CREOG & APGO Annual Meeting, 2021, Resident, Residency Director, Professionalism, GME, Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility, General Ob-Gyn, CREOG & APGO Annual Meeting, 2021, Student, Faculty, Clerkship Director, Medical Knowledge, Practice-Based Learning & Improvement, UME, Simulation, Lecture, Team-Based Learning,

General Information

Student,Resident,Faculty,Clerkship Director,Residency Director,
Medical Knowledge,Professionalism,Practice-Based Learning & Improvement,
Simulation,Lecture,Team-Based Learning,
Clinical Focus
Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility,General Ob-Gyn,

Author Information

Shelun Tsai, MD, Duke University Medical Center; Tracy Truong, MB; Jennifer Eaton, MD, MSCI

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