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Surgery. 2004 Oct;136(4):795-803.

Fertility is reduced after restorative proctocolectomy with ileal pouch anal anastomosis: a study of 300 patients.

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Department of Colorectal Surgery, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, OH 44195, USA.



Restorative proctocolectomy and ileal pouch anal anastomosis (RP/IPAA) has become the gold standard surgical therapy for the majority of patients with mucosal ulcerative colitis and familial adenomatous polyposis. The aims of this study were to evaluate the fertility rates before and after RP/IPAA, to compare them with the reproductive data of the general United States population, and to determine surgical parameters that might influence subsequent fertility.


Three hundred women of reproductive age who underwent RP/IPAA between 1983 and 2001 completed a mailed questionnaire regarding their reproductive function before and after the procedure. Additional information was obtained from the pelvic pouch database. The reproductive information was compared to age-matched historical control subjects from the United States general population. The associations between changes in fertility and surgical parameters were also investigated.


The median (25th, 75th percentile) age at surgery was 28 (24, 33) years. Out of 300 women, 206 attempted to conceive. Before operation, 48 (38%) of 127 patients were unsuccessful after 1 year of unprotected intercourse, whereas after operation, 76 (56%) of 135 patients were unsuccessful. This infertility rate was higher after operation than before (P <.001). For the subgroup of 56 women who tried to get pregnant both before and after operation, the infertility rate was higher after operation than before (69% vs 46%; P=.005). Also, a higher percentage of these patients who had an intraoperative transfusion were infertile after operation compared to patients who did not have an intraoperative transfusion (54% vs 21%; P=.023).


There was an increase in the infertility rate after RP/IPAA. Intraoperative blood transfusion had a negative impact on the fertility rate after operation in patients who tried to conceive both before and after RP/IPAA.

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