Infertility rates high among female physicians

Submitted to Surrogacy Stories

The New York Times recently ran a piece on the reproductive toll that work stress, long hours, sleep deprivation and years of training can exact on female physicians.

Often, doctors must navigate 10 years of medical school, residencies and fellowships. The average age for women to complete their medical training is 31, and most female physicians first give birth at 32, on average, according to a 2021 study. The median age for non-physicians to give birth is 27.

Dr. Ariela Marshall, a hematologist at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, helped to create an infertility task force with the American Medical Women’s Association. In June, the association held its first national physician fertility summit, with sessions on egg freezing, benefits and insurance coverage for fertility treatment, and infertility and mental health. The association plans to hold another summit next year.

“For many physicians like me, everything is so planned,” Dr. Marshall said. “Many of us decide to wait until we’re done with our training and are financially independent to have kids, and that doesn’t happen until we’re in our mid to late 30s."

A 2016 survey of female physicians in the Journal of Women’s Health found that nearly one in four of those who had tried to have a baby had been diagnosed with infertility — almost double the rate of the general public.