Appendix and Tonsil Removal Linked to Higher Pregnancy Rates

Women who had their appendix and/or tonsils removed when they were young are more likely to get pregnant, according to a study recently published in Fertility and Sterility. Not only are these women more likely to get pregnant, they get pregnant sooner.

Researchers led by Sami Shimi, MD, clinical senior lecturer in the School of Medicine at the University of Dundee, looked at pregnancy rates using the United Kingdom (U.K.) primary health care-based Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD). They identified 54,675 appendectomy-only patients; 112,607 tonsillectomy-only patients; 10,340 patients who had both appendectomy and tonsillectomy, and 355,244 comparators matched for exact age and practice from the rest of female patients in the database. The year range was 1987 to 2012, and the team used Cox regression models to find the association between surgery and subsequent pregnancy.

“There were 29,732 (54.4%), 60,078 (53.4%), and 6,169 (59.7%) pregnancies in the appendectomy-only, tonsillectomy-only, and both appendectomy tonsillectomy cohorts, respectively versus 155,079 (43.7%) in the comparator cohort during a mean follow-up of 14.7 ± 9.7 years,” the authors write. They also note that time to pregnancy was shortest in the women who had both appendectomy and tonsillectomy.

“Appendectomy and/or tonsillectomy was associated with increased subsequent pregnancy rates and shorter time to pregnancy,” the researchers conclude. “The effect of the surgical procedures on the pregnancy outcome was cumulative.”

“The authors are not advocating that young women should seek appendectomy or tonsillectomy to increase their chances of pregnancy,” Shimi says. “However, females who require appendectomy or tonsillectomy should be reassured that their future chances of pregnancy may not be jeopardized but on the contrary may increase.”

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