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Ann Thorac Surg. 2014 Sep;98(3):890-5. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2014.05.041. Epub 2014 Jul 31.

Birth trends and factors affecting childbearing among thoracic surgeons.

Author information

1
Department of Surgery, Houston Methodist Hospital & Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University, Houston, Texas.
2
Department of Surgery, Columbia University, New York, New York.
3
Department of Surgery, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri.
4
Department of Surgery, Brigham & Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.
5
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Maternal Fetal Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas.
6
Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery - Research, Division of Surgery, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas.
7
Department of Surgery, Boston Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts.
8
Department of Surgery, Houston Methodist Hospital & Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University, Houston, Texas. Electronic address: blackmon.shanda@mayo.edu.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

As more women enter the thoracic surgery profession, issues affecting childbearing become increasingly important. We set out to assess birth trends and factors affecting childbearing among thoracic surgeons.

METHODS:

A 33-question anonymous survey was sent to women diplomats of American Board of Thoracic Surgery, residents in Thoracic Surgery Residents Association, and members of Women in Thoracic Surgery. Findings were compared with national norms.

RESULTS:

There were a total of 113 respondents (88 women, 25 men). Of 69% (61 of 88) of women and 88% (22 of 25) of men who desired children, 98% (60 of 61) of women versus 50% (11 of 22) of men delayed pregnancy (p < 0.0001). Eighty-two percent (72 of 88) of women versus 60% (15 of 25) of men felt their career would be adversely affected, with 6% (54 of 88) of women versus 16% (4 of 25) of men reporting that pregnancy would be viewed unfavorably among peers (p < 0.03 and p < 0.0001, respectively). Of women of childbearing age, 28% (15 of 54) utilized assisted reproductive technology (national average 12%, p < 0.0002). The total fertility rate was 0.6 ± 0.2 children per woman whereas the national rate was 1.9. The average age at first-childbirth was 34.3 ± 0.7 years, while the national norm was 25.4.

CONCLUSIONS:

Women thoracic surgeons begin their family later in life and have fewer children compared with the national average. These findings are likely related to the perception that their career would be adversely affected and to advanced maternal age. Residency programs and practice groups should strive to develop policies that support childbearing earlier in training as the number of women thoracic surgeons grows.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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