Get access

Female infertility following restorative proctocolectomy


Paris P. Tekkis MD, FRCS, Department of Biosurgery and Surgical Technology, St Mary’s Hospital, Imperial College, 10th Floor QEQM Wing, Praed Street, London W2 1NY, UK.


Aim  Females of child-bearing age have been reported to have a two to three-fold increase in infertility after restorative proctocolectomy (RPC). This study aimed to assess aspects of infertility and pregnancy.

Method  A postal questionnaire was sent to 790 females who had undergone primary RPC in two tertiary centres. Infertility, the number and outcome of pregnancies, delivery method and the use of fertility treatments were determined.

Results  Three hundred and six (38.5%) females responded (median age 47.9 years at follow up; 35.3 years at the time of RPC). Eighty-two per cent (n = 250) had ulcerative colitis. Forty-five per cent (n = 138) had conceived prior to RPC, 5.2% (n = 16) conceived both before and after RPC, 5.5% (n = 17) conceived after RPC only and 44.1% (n = 135) had never conceived. Females delivering before RPC had significantly more vaginal deliveries than those conceiving after (pre-RPC 69.6%, n = 96 vs post-RPC 35.3%, n = 6; = 0.001). Fifty-seven patients stated they had attempted to conceive after RPC, with 25 (45.5%) being successful. Eighteen females had been referred to a fertility specialist, of whom 16 received in vitro fertilization (IVF). Four (30.7%) females conceived using IVF.

Conclusion  While RPC is known to be associated with infertility, only a small proportion of patients are referred for fertility management. IVF outcomes and success rates after RPC are similar to the general population. Patients are more likely to have a Caesarean section following RPC.