Become a digitalPLUS subscriber. $12 for 12 weeks.

Obesity and Infertility: Weight Loss Surgery Helps Aid Pregnancy

Cicelyann Perkins is a shadow of her former self--just a few short years ago she was much heavier--those were the days before her weight loss surgery in 2007.

"Going in I think I was 246," Cicelyann said with a laugh. "I try not to remember that--as of this morning I was 161.5, so I'm a pound-and-a-half away from my goal."

That's her ideal weight goal--but Cicelyann had lap band surgery because she had something bigger and better in mind--she wanted a baby but was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome.

She said the symptoms were everywhere.

"I mean it ranged anywhere from acne, migraines, anxiety--things that," Cicelyann recalled. "I wouldn't have normally put together to think for PCOS."

But researchers at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa were thinking about PCOS when they reviewed the medical records of 31 patients. Six of those young women who had PCOS related infertility and wanted to have kids--became pregnant within three years after weight loss surgery.

Dr. Frank Felts is a weight loss surgeon at Forest Park Medical Center in Dallas where he says about 15% of his female patients had weight loss surgery specifically to help them get pregnant.

"I have a number of women, a number of women who have had fertility problem--polycystic ovarian syndrome or other simple infertility and ovulating problems based on weight that lose the weight, have normal periods and get pregnant," Dr. Felts said.

That's exactly what happened to Cicelyann and a growing number of women. Cicelyann's 6 month old son Grayson is what she had in mind when she had her weight loss surgery.

She lost 55 pounds before getting pregnant.

"I had gotten down to 215 between dieting and exercising," Cicelyann said. "I was working real hard and I just couldn't get any lower than that."

Researchers said women should wait at least 18 months before trying to get pregnant--which Ciceleyann did.Grayson was worth the wait.

"Awesome," Cicelyann said. "I love him to death."

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun