Appendix or tonsil removal could improve fertility

Women who have their appendix or tonsils removed when they are young, are more likely to get pregnant and get pregnant faster than the rest of the population, according to a new study led by the University of Dundee.

While it was previously believed that appendectomy had a negative effect on women’s fertility, the study found the opposite to be true. Using data from the medical records of more than half a million women in the United Kingdom, the researchers found significantly higher pregnancy rates among women who had had an appendectomy (54.4%) or a tonsillectomy (53.4%), compared with the control group (43.7%).

The highest pregnancy rate (59.7%) and the shortest time to pregnancy was found among the women who had had both their appendix and tonsils removed.

The findings do not mean that appendix or tonsil removal will improve your own chances of getting pregnant, however. The link between the surgical operations and improved fertility may be biological, but the researchers believe it is more likely to be behavioral. They are pursuing both hypotheses with further research.

“This research does not mean that removing a normal appendix directly increases fertility,” said Sami Shimi, Clinical Senior Lecturer in the School of Medicine at the University of Dundee. “It does however mean that young women who need to have their appendix removed can do so without fear of the risk on future fertility.”

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