In a new study, 100% of women who were diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome-related infertility before undergoing bariatric surgery successfully achieved pregnancy after their surgery.

“This study suggests that women with morbid obesity, who are infertile secondary to PCOS, may have a new surgical option,” Mohammad Jamal, MD, FACS, study researcher and clinical assistant professor of surgery at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City, said in a press release. “Many other studies have shown bariatric surgery can improve or resolve a multitude of diseases and conditions. It appears that infertility now joins that list.”

A review of medical records of 566 morbidly obese women who had gastric bypass surgery during a 9-year period revealed 31 patients aged 22 to 42 years who had PCOS before surgery. After exclusion, 20 women were contacted by telephone, six of whom desired pregnancy. The mean duration of PCOS before surgery was 8.6 years. According to the study results, each of the six women conceived within 3 years of undergoing gastric bypass.

The data link bariatric surgery with other benefits as well. Menstrual cycles, for example, normalized in 82% of women after a mean of 8 months, and symptoms of hirsutism resolved in 29% of women. Among patients with type 2 diabetes, 77.8% experienced complete remission of the disease. Furthermore, average excess weight loss for the women, who initially had a mean BMI of 52, nearly reached 60% — an added bonus for pregnant women.

“Significant weight loss also reduces the risk of pregnancy-related complications, which is another important consideration,” Jamal said in the press release. “Though this is a small study, it has a big result and should be an area for more investigation and should be discussed with morbidly obese women who are having trouble conceiving.”