Indexed on: 03 Jul '16Published on: 03 Jul '16Published in: Reproductive sciences (Thousand Oaks, Calif.)
Infertility is a common reproductive disease, with a prevalence of 9% to 18% of the general population. To date, no studies have attempted to examine the prevalence and experience of infertility among resident physicians in the United States. In female obstetrics and gynecology (Ob/Gyn) residents of age where infertility becomes more prevalent, ability to seek fertility may be influenced by rigorous professional demands and low remuneration. We seek to understand the prevalence of infertility, as well as experience and utilization of infertility services among Ob/Gyn residents. Cross-sectional descriptive survey was distributed among US Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education-accredited Ob/Gyn programs. Demographics, intentions to conceive during residency, fertility problems, fertility treatment, affordability of care, and perceptions of support were surveyed. A total of 241 responses were received in an equal distribution between junior (n = 120) and senior (n = 121) residents. The majority of respondents were female (91%), 25 to 35 years old (94%), and married (54%). Eighty-five percent (195 of 230) did not actively pursue fertility during residency. Twenty-nine percent (68 of 235) considered fertility preservation, but only 2% sought consultation. Twenty-nine percent of those interested in fertility (22 of 75) experienced infertility of some degree. Sixty-three percent felt low or no support from the program. Thirty-five percent reported stigma associated with their infertility. In conclusion, infertility is a prevalent reproductive health impairment among Ob/Gyn residents. The majority of residents defer childbearing during residency despite advancing reproductive age. A majority felt little or no support from training programs in addressing their fertility care. Further studies are indicated to understand the barriers and impact among resident trainees.