Having their tonsils or appendix removed might result in an unexpected benefit for young women who hope to become pregnant someday: New research suggests they might be more fertile as a result. A 15-year study of half a million British women finds that a woman who has undergone a tonsillectomy or appendectomy has a 49% and 34% higher chance of getting pregnant, respectively, than a woman with her appendix and tonsils intact, reports the Telegraph. A woman who's had both procedures has a 43% higher chance of getting pregnant. One of the researchers says the study "confirms beyond doubt that removal of inflamed organs or organs likely to suffer from repeated inflammation, in women, improves their chances of pregnancy" rather than reduces those chances, as some doctors believe.
It isn't clear why the procedures are linked to increased fertility—doctors previously suggested scar tissue around the fallopian tubes after an appendectomy reduced the chance of pregnancy—but it may simply be that women who have more sex are more likely to develop an infection. However, inflammation in the body can affect a woman's ovaries and womb, per the BBC, and it's possible that "the removal of these tissues makes an alteration to their immune system" that affects reproduction, says a scientist not involved in the study. "If true, this may ultimately give doctors and scientists some new ideas for novel drugs or therapies to enhance women's fertility." The researchers stress they're not advocating that otherwise healthy women have the procedures, notes CNN. (This procedure may double a woman's chance of conception.)