Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics

, Volume 300, Issue 5, pp 1331–1341 | Cite as

Altered patient perceptions and preferences regarding male and female gynecologists: a comparison between 1997 and 2018

  • Saskia SpaichEmail author
  • Christel Weiss
  • Marc Sütterlin
General Gynecology



The purpose of this investigation was to explore changes in patient preference regarding gynecologist’s gender.


Using a standardized questionnaire, distributed in 1997 and 2018, a total of 1000 women were interviewed about preferences in terms of their choice of gynecologist and perceptions regarding gender-dependency of gynecologist’s qualifications, strengths and weaknesses. Data was correlated with sociodemographics and possible influencing factors.


Based on their own experience, an increasing majority did not express a preference for their gynecologist’s gender (58–71%). However, the minority that still favors one gender demonstrated a significant decrease in preference of male gynecologists (14–5%), while about a quarter still generally prefer treatment by female physicians. Sub-analyses of emotional and technical treatment aspects generally confirm these trends in that more of today’s patients are indifferent to their gynecologist’s sex and that the remaining minority shifts towards favoring female doctors. If asked to definitely choose between female and male physicians based solely on the aspect of trust a significant change can be noted (69–30%) in favor of female doctors in 2018 as opposed to 1997 when patients were split in this regard (52%/48%). Overall bad personal experience regarding gynecological treatment has significantly decreased (36% reduction).


Over the last decades, patient preference and perception of the importance of their gynecologist’s gender has changed. While an increasing majority attributes equal competence in emotional, professional and interpersonal aspects to both genders, the remaining proportion of patients demonstrates a significant shift towards favoring female doctors.


Patient preference Gender Gynecologist Physician 



German Society of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gynäkologie und Geburtshilfe




Respective gender






University Hospital Würzburg


University Medical Centre Mannheim


Author contributions

SS: project development, data collection, data management, data analysis, provision of study patients, Manuscript writing, final approval of manuscript. CW: data analysis, final approval of manuscript. MS: data collection, project development, data analysis, administrative support, provision of study patients, final approval of manuscript, supervision.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Ethical approval

The ethical approval for this study was obtained through Ethics Committee II, Heidelberg University, Medical Faculty Mannheim (2018-572N-MA).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyUniversity Medical Centre Mannheim, Heidelberg UniversityMannheimGermany
  2. 2.Department of Medical Statistics and BiomathematicsUniversity Medical Centre Mannheim, Heidelberg UniversityMannheimGermany

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