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Obese women turning to bariatric surgery to boost fertility

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DENVER -- Amanda Tyacke is finally pregnant, something she never thought she'd be.

"We had been told it probably would never happen," she said.

Amanda hasn't always been healthy.  Most of her life she was severely overweight, weighing more than 300 pounds.  She had fertility issues and was told losing weight may help her, so she took action.

"I made the big decision of doing bariatric surgery, at the time in hopes of getting pregnant," she said.

About six years ago Amanda had a gastric band placed around the upper part of her stomach so that she would feel full with less food.  She lost 100 pounds, then last may she switched to a gastric bypass, and lost another 45 pounds.

She had given up on having a baby when something shocking happened.  During an ultrasound checking for a hernia, she was told she was pregnant.

"I'm like no I'm not, I said I can't, I can't get pregnant."  But it was true.

Amanda and her husband are thrilled and believe her weight loss is what did the trick.

Amanda's bariatric surgeon, who is also her boss, says she is not alone.  Dr. Michael Snyder says there are 19 patients in his practice right now who had bariatric surgery and are now pregnant.

"Clearly we don't encourage this as a way to get pregnant, but some of our biggest referral sources are fertility doctors," said Dr. Snyder.

Dr. Susan Trout is one of those doctors.  She says many times larger women don't ovulate and have a hard time getting pregnant.  Some even develop polycystic ovarian syndrome.

"If you can reverse that and get them to thin down and get rid of some of the body fat, it often times reverses infertility too," Dr. Trout said.

But can a woman who is eating less due to bariatric surgery support a growing fetus?

"It's definitely manageable," Dr. Trout said.

It's been manageable for Amanda.  Doctors will follow her closely.  But now she has to mentally adjust to gaining weight, instead of losing it.