Orthopaedic surgery has the lowest percentage of female residents of all surgical specialties. Female medical students may believe that the demands of the specialty, both during training and in clinical practice, may be less conducive to becoming a parent. The purpose of this study was to determine the perceptions of and experiences with pregnancy and parenthood among female orthopaedic surgery trainees.
An anonymous 24-question online survey was distributed to all current female orthopaedic surgery trainees in the United States via the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Diversity Advisory Board. Survey questions included the demographics of the residents' programs, the parental status of the respondents, and their experiences with pregnancy and parenthood during training.
Of the respondents, 83.7% did not have children during residency and were not currently pregnant. Furthermore, 48.4% responded that they had deferred having children because they were in residency. One hundred and thirteen respondents (59.5%) reported that they experienced bias from co-residents about women having children during residency, whereas 94 (49.5%) reported such bias from attendings.
This study demonstrates that most female orthopaedic trainees do not have children during residency. Most respondents experienced bias from co-residents about women having children during residency, and nearly half experienced such bias from orthopaedic attendings. Combating bias about pregnancy during residency may help encourage more women to pursue a career in orthopaedics.