The medical records of more than half a million women were analysed to produce the results
A new study suggests that women who have their appendix or tonsils removed when they are young are more likely to get pregnant, and do so sooner.
The new research, carried out at the University of Dundee and University College London, examined the medical records of more than half a million women in the United Kingdom between 1987 and 2012.
Pregnancy rates 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%).
The time it took women to get pregnant was shortest among those who had both an appendectomy and tonsillectomy, followed by appendectomy only and then tonsillectomy only, compared with the rest of the population.
The study followed a 2012 report from the same research team which initially revealed the surprising statistics around appendectomies and pregnancy.
Sami Shimi, Clinical Senior Lecturer at the University of Dundee said:
“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.
“This scientifically challenges the myth of the effect of appendectomy on fertility. What we have to establish now is exactly why that is the case.”
However, the team behind the study are warning women that there is a significant amount of research still to be done and that findings should not be taken as a sign that women should seek an appendectomy or tonsillectomy thinking it would increase their chances of becoming pregnant.
Dr Li Wei, of the School of Pharmacy at University College London, said:
"This research does not mean that removing a normal appendix directly increases fertility. 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.”