Today Dr. Sabrina Gerkowicz, a reproductive endocrinologist (aka fertility doctor) shares with us some very important findings and statistics about #physicianinfertility as well as what a fertility workup looks like, who should have one, and 5 things you MUST know!
Infertility, defined as failure to achieve pregnancy within 12 months of unprotected intercourse or donor inseminations in women younger than 35 years or within 6 months in women older than 35 years, affects up to 10-15% of couples.
However, recent studies have found that this incidence can be even higher in women in medicine.
An article recently published in JAMA Surgery (2019), by Matilda Anderson, MBBS, MPH and Rose H. Goldman, MD, MPH addressed this very topic. “Studies comparing surgeons with the general population show increased rates of infertility and pregnancy complications, including conditions affecting both the mother and fetus, such as spontaneous abortion, preterm delivery, growth restriction, and congenital abnormalities.” While most of the attributed blame for these findings has focused on older age and demanding working conditions of pregnant surgeons [or one might extrapolate this to physicians in general]; the authors note that “there are reproductive hazards present in the operating room that might also be contributing.” Some of these relevant hazards listed in the paper include radiation, surgical smoke, working conditions, sharps injury, anesthetic gases, and intra-operative use of toxic agents to name a few.
Aghajanova et al. (2017) found that 29% of their survey cohort of OBGYN residents interested in fertility, experienced infertility of some degree.
In a study by Stentz et al. (2016), 600 female physicians were surveyed and of the 54.5% that responded, nearly one quarter (24.1%) who had attempted conception were diagnosed with infertility, with an average age at diagnosis of 33.7 years. Among those with infertility, 29.3% report