Women who have their tonsils or appendix removed are more likely to fall pregnant, sooner.

A new study from the University of Dundee has found that women who have their appendix or tonsils removed when they are young are more likely to get pregnant, and do so sooner, than others who don’t have the surgery.

Using medical records of hundreds of thousands of women in the United Kingdom, researchers analysed the pregnancy rates and found that they were significantly higher among those who had had an appendectomy (54.4%), tonsillectomy (53.4%) or both (59.7%) than those in the rest of the population (43.7%).

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“For many years medical students were taught that appendectomy had a negative effect on fertility and young women often feared that having their appendix removed threatened their chances of later becoming pregnant,” said Sami Shimi, Clinical Senior Lecturer at the University of Dundee. 

The study extended from previous research which had already uncovered findings of women's fertility being affected.

“Our first study produced such a surprising result – that women who had had their appendix removed actually appeared more likely to become pregnant – that we wanted to look at a wider group to establish whether this was really related to the removal of the appendix, which if left can be a cause of inflammation, " Mr Shimi said.

“However, once again the results have been surprising. We have found that women who have had an appendectomy or tonsillectomy, or even more particularly both, are more likely to become pregnant, and sooner than the rest of the general population."

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The findings are important as it was previously thought that tonsil and appendix removal was linked to issues with fertility in some women but the team advised that women should not seek out unnecessary surgery in a quest for positive pregnancy news.  

“This research does not mean that removing a normal appendix directly increases fertility,” said Mr Shimi.

“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.”


Watch The Pregnancy Project: Hannah.