Most female medical students prefer to keep their maiden names after marriage, according to the results of a new survey. 

The first of a kind survey, led by Leigh Ann Humphries of Harvard Medical School, involved 74 women in the Class of 2017 who were either already married or planned to marry in the future. The results revealed that the great majority of single, married, and engaged women wanted to keep their maiden names after marriage. Specifically, 65% of the single women wished to keep their maiden names, and 65% of the married women had already chosen to do so.

Moreover, 40% of the single women wished to keep their names regardless of when they married, while 25% said that the timing of marriage could affect their decision. On the other hand, only 22% of the women preferred their partners’ name and 13% preferred joint or hyphenated names. For the women who did not want to change their names after marriage, personal identity played an important role in their decision.

“Ultimately, there is no universally correct decision about a maiden name, and women may benefit from information and advice shared by others with similar experiences. My choice not to endorse my own opinions about the future use of my maiden name is deliberate,” the author wrote. “The intent of this article is not to sway readers one way or another, but to highlight an interesting phenomenon in the medical community and to provide an outlet for discussion. It is clear that a woman’s decision to keep or change her name is a personal one, with determinants that vary from person to person.”

The findings were published in the Harvard Medical Student Review.


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