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Comment & Response
December 29, 2021

Comments on Study About US Female Surgeons

Author Affiliations
  • 1Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois
JAMA Surg. 2022;157(4):358. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2021.6447

To the Editor I read with great interest the article by Rangel et al.1 The authors concluded that changing surgical culture to support pregnancy and motherhood is necessary to combat these associated health issues. I would like to discuss how the implications of these findings span beyond the health of early-career surgeon mothers.

One of the many barriers female medical students may face when deciding to pursue surgery is the potential effect on childbearing given the timing and duration of residency. As the first study of infertility and pregnancy complications in surgeons that controls for sociodemographic characteristics, Rangel et al1 have quantified this barrier. Female medical students must weigh these risks of increased fertility and pregnancy complications against their desire to become a surgeon, while their male counterparts do not. Changing surgical culture to support pregnancy and motherhood will create a more equitable environment for female medical students to pursue surgery.

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