Who knew you’ve been primed for motherhood since age 12?
Remember when you were a kid and you thought getting your tonsils taken out was rad because it meant you could eat ice cream for breakfast? Well, it turns out the minor surgery you endured as a child may have affected your fertility as an adult. Seriously. Recent research suggests that getting your tonsils removed increases your likelihood of becoming pregnant (and if you’ve had your appendix taken out, you’re not off the hook either).
A 2016 study conducted by researchers at the University of Dundee examined 15 years of anonymous medical records from over 530,000 women in the UK. If you did the math like I did, that’s nearly 8 MILLION years worth of medical history. And what that 8 million years of medical research said was that women who had their tonsils removed were more likely to become pregnant than those who did not.
Researchers also studied the relationship between appendectomies and fertility and discovered that women who underwent appendectomies had similarly high rates of fertility. As for women who had both their tonsils and appendixes removed? These women were the most likely to become pregnant, with pregnancy rates of almost 60%. To put this in perspective, women who have had both their tonsils and appendixes removed were 15% more likely to become pregnant than the average woman.
The findings of this study are perplexing because they directly contradict research which claims that tonsillectomies (and particularly appendectomies) actually hinder fertility. So, good news: if you’re trying to become pregnant, your surgeries did not, in fact, negatively affect your fertility.
So far, the researchers of the Dundee study are unable to explain why the relationship between these two surgeries and improved fertility exists. I don’t remember much from Psych 101, but I do remember that causation and correlation are not the same thing. In other words, don’t interpret these findings to mean that getting one of these surgeries will help you become pregnant.
That being said, if you had both surgeries, are sexually active and would prefer not to start a family any time in the immediate future, you may want to stock up on contraceptives.