"Some women are perceived as being less serious because they chose to build a family in training," says Christine Van Horn, MD.
In this interview, Christine Van Horn, MD, discusses barriers to family building during residency, which were highlighted in the publication, “Family Building and Our Evolving Urology Workforce: A Call to Action.” Van Horn is a recent graduate of the University of Massachusetts Medical School Program and an incoming fellow at Loyola Medicine in Maywood, Illinois.
There are a number of things in the literature that stand out to me from what I've looked at in writing this editorial. One of the biggest things is the stigma associated with having children. Some women are perceived as being less serious because they chose to build a family in training. I think that is changing with time, and we're working on some data in our institution looking at that and seeing if things have changed. But I think there is still potentially that judgment generationally in terms of folks who choose to have children while they're in training.
I think there's also just the time aspect, because it adds to your training if you have to take time off after you have a child. I think, too, there's just the stressors and the guilt that goes with it in terms of feeling like you're burdening the rest of your classmates, the rest of your fellow trainees [by] going out and having a child or having to take less call at one point or having to make up more call before you deliver to make up for the fact that are going to be out afterward. So, I think those things all factor in.
And I think, too, it's the stress and the costs. I mean, being a trainee, we get paid well, in terms of the general American population, but with our student loan debt, it's very challenging to be able to add on the costs of building a family on top of that, and especially for those who choose to preserve their oocytes or gametes. That's another big cost that I didn't really understand until I started looking into it as a trainee.
This transcription has been edited for clarity.