DOI: 10.1093/jsxmed/qdae001.190 ISSN: 1743-6095

(200) The Fertility and Childbearing Experiences of US Male Physicians

E Jesse, K Tay, N Sellke, S Rhodes, W Muncey, A Hijaz, N Thirumavalavan
  • Urology
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Psychiatry and Mental health



Recent attention has been brought to physician fertility in the last decade, most notably amongst female physicians who suffer an increased risk of infertility compared to the general population. Various factors related to a career in medicine play a role, such as a delay in pursuit of childbearing, a demanding work schedule, shift work, and stress associated with the profession. However, risk of infertility in the male physician population has yet to be studied.


Therefore, we sought to evaluate the experiences and childbearing patterns of a sample of American male physicians with special attention to timing of conception and childbearing, reflections upon professional and personal decision-making, and general knowledge regarding fertility. The primary objective of this study was to determine the incidence of infertility among American male physicians.


Utilizing a third party to access the American Medical Association (AMA) database, licensed US physicians registered as male and between the ages of 18-65 were identified. Within this cohort, 690 men were randomly selected and contacted via paper mail (340) or email (350) and asked to participate in the survey study. Surveys were administered electronically via REDCap (obtained through a QR code) and included questions regarding the physicians’ demographics, medical specialty, and whether they have attempted to conceive. Those who have attempted to conceive were also surveyed on their work experience at the time of their first attempt at conception and their experience and partner’s experience with fertility and childbearing. Internal Review Board approval was obtained for this study (STUDY 20211036).


Fifty-three men responded to the survey (7.7%). All respondents were cisgender males with cisgender female partners. The majority (94.3%) had attempted to conceive and occurred most during residency (46.0%). The average age when first attempting conception was 31.6 years, and this was most commonly during residency (46.0%) or after training (30.0%). During this time, many (72.0%) were responsible for night shifts, overnight call duties, or both. In addition, as many as 34 men (68.0%) had no access to paid parental leave during this time. Of 50 men who attempted conception, 14 (28.0%) of their partners experienced a miscarriage. Eight men (17.0%) underwent a fertility workup, and 6 underwent infertility treatment(s). Only 4 respondents had insurance partially covering their infertility treatments, while the other two had no insurance coverage.


Male physicians are often exposed to long work hours, nighttime duties, and sparse paid parental leave during the time of their first attempt at conception, most commonly in residency. Our cohort shows a high rate of miscarriage (28.0%) and infertility assessment (16.0%) among this population. Future studies are needed to continue characterizing fertility amongst physicians.



More from our Archive