Background & aims: Women with ulcerative colitis generally have normal fertility. The aim of this study was to compare patients' fecundability before and after restorative proctocolectomy with ileal pouch-anal anastomosis with the fecundability of the general population.
Methods: Historical follow-up was performed on 343 consecutive female patients aged 10.6-40.5 years at surgery and a reference population of 1200 women aged 25-40 years. A total of 290 (85%) patients and 661 (55%) women in the reference population agreed to participate in a structured telephone interview concerning reproductive behavior and waiting times to pregnancy. Cox regression and Kaplan-Meier plots were used for analysis.
Results: Surgery significantly reduced the ratio of patient to reference population fecundability, which decreased to 0.20 (P < 0.0001). Before diagnosis and from diagnosis until colectomy, the fecundability of the patients was similar to that of the reference population.
Conclusions: Female patients with ulcerative colitis have normal fecundity before surgical treatment. Surgery severely reduces female fecundity. Information about this reduction in fecundity should be given before surgery, and if a woman has an unfulfilled wish for pregnancy after surgery, early referral to a gynecologist is recommended.