Parenthood Among Orthopedic Surgery Residents: Assessment of Resident and Program Director Perceptions on Training

Orthopedics. 2021 Feb 9;1-7. doi: 10.3928/01477447-20210201-08. Online ahead of print.


Orthopedic residency training overlaps with common childbearing ages. The purpose of this study was to describe factors affecting male and female residents' family-planning decisions and attitudes of program directors (PDs) toward parenthood during residency. In 2018, using an anonymous survey model, residents and PDs in Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education-accredited orthopedic surgery programs were asked about their perceptions of parenthood on training, the availability of family-oriented services at their programs, and the effect of residency culture and policies on their decision to have children. This survey occurred in 2018. Three hundred forty-nine (76.2%) of 458 resident respondents were male and 109 (23.8%) were female. Two hundred four (49.9%) of 409 residents were unsure of their program's parental leave policy. Male residents reported taking an average of 0.8 weeks (95% CI, 0.0-4.0 weeks) of parental leave and females an average of 4.6 weeks (95% CI, 2.0-6.5 weeks) (P<.001). Female residents were more likely to report delaying having children during residency (56.73% vs 38.71%, P=.001) and were more likely to cite reputational concerns (57.63% vs 0.76%, P<.001) and effects on career opportunities (42.37% vs 7.57%, P<.001) as reasons for delaying parenthood. The most commonly cited negative effect of parenthood on residency training by PDs was reduction in off-duty educational time (15 of 29, 51.72%). Twentyfour (80%) of 30 PDs believe that training may need to be extended based on amount of maternity/paternity leave time taken off. Although parenthood during orthopedic training is common, both male and female residents reported delaying parenthood because of residency-related factors. Improved clarification of leave policies and establishment of clear guidelines for parenthood in residency may improve resident wellness. [Orthopedics. 2021;44(x):xx-xx.].