I am currently applying this cycle and I'm gradually learning more about what's in store for me down the road. The more I learn about how awful residency programs are in terms of weekly hours of commitment (80-100+ hrs a week at some programs), the more I'm realizing that being in a residency through my mid-30's may not be compatible with having a family.
Before even considering things like a spouse's potential career aspirations, I don't know if I could go years without being involved in my own family. Do y'all have any experience or advice to impart in that regard?
MD alone, I finish residency by 30. PhD alone, I'm an independent PI with an established lab by 30. But it feels like MD PhDs are just starting the most grueling part of their career by 30.
I think we got slightly diverged from the question.
If the question is can I have a child in during residency, the answer is, typically, yes. Once you have a child or even during pregnancy, things tend to start to reconfigure in a way that make it likely to sustain a career in a particular way.
Having said that, I have observed anecdotally that there are a significant size of childless female PIs, either MD/PhD or PhD. Childless male PIs are somewhat more rare. My suspicion in that this a selection bias. As you said, women are not able to tolerate "go years without being involved [in a way that is sufficiently significant] in my own family." In particular, if in your imagination residency is less problematic than after residency, you'd be mistaken. Junior PIs often work many more hours, especially nights and weekends, than a senior resident. Choosing this career path by definition is being psychologically okay with the idea that you will NOT be reading your children to bed every night, and you will NOT be spending every weekend playing with children, etc. etc. knowing that statistically, the outcome of the children are equivalent (and in a number of studies, working mothers often have BETTER outcomes, likely due to selection bias).
Logistically, the critical piece of this is your mate choice. It's best if you go down two tried and true pathways of successful women who are mothers and in demanding careers: 1. marry someone even more powerful and wealthy than you'll ever be, or at least will contribute significantly to wealth building and would agree to your commitment to a career that potentially pays less and requires more work. Many examples of this model. This resolves the issue of childcare through extensive hiring of help. 2. having a father who is willing to be the primary childcare provider, and relocate if necessary--this is much more common in lower cost of living areas, as the salary of one physician-scientist even during training is often sufficient for a household.
If you are committed to a demanding career and want children, it's vitally important to have these discussions early in engaging a romantic relationship. If your husband is capable and onboard, it's perfectly doable. In terms of outcomes of children, in general examples of successful women working demanding careers and never particularly paused for childrearing seem to have pretty good children, based on my observation of incidental cases of females in senior management. If you don't choose your mate carefully, divorce is very common. You cannot afford to have delusions about romantic relationships. People's long term goals rarely change.
In fact, beyond the junior faculty/young children stage, while unmarried/childless might get faster at the starting phase, I don't recommend deliberately choose to go down this path purely for career advancement, because based on my observation it's distinctly not a good thing in later phases. Very few in senior management are unmarried/childless, and to a certain degree, I think it's institutional mistrust of this demographic. To another extent it's selection bias: unmarried/childless are less interested in the type of work/relationship building that will result in institutional advancement.