How can you get pregnant if you have just 1 ovary? Read on to find out.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1 in 10 women have polycystic ovarian cysts. A large percentage of them end up having one or both of their ovaries removed, but are still able to become pregnant.
So how is it possible for women to get pregnant with 1 ovary? Experts say that as long as they are still ovulating and have at least 1 fallopian tube intact, they can still bear a child.
The role of ovulation in pregnancy
During a woman’s monthly cycle, she typically releases a single egg from either of her ovaries. The 2 ovaries are supposed to take turns in releasing the egg without any definite pattern.
When the egg is released, it goes down towards the fallopian tube. This process, known as ovulation, is the most essential occurrence for a woman to become pregnant.
A woman with 1 ovary has a great chance of getting pregnant — as long as she has 1 intact fallopian tube adjacent to the ovary, and is menstruating regularly. An irregular menstrual cycle or the absence of a menstrual period would indicate that ovulation is happening infrequently, or totally nonexistent.
Can you get pregnant with 1 ovary and 1 fallopian tube?
While having a single ovary, a single fallopian tube, or both does not affect a woman’s chances of conception, it is much more difficult for those whose lone ovary and lone fallopian tube are not located on the same side.
Although it may be possible for an egg released by an ovary to be carried down to the fallopian tube on the other side, this phenomenon is highly unlikely. Also, having a single fallopian tube and ovary located on opposite sides increases one’s risks of suffering from an ectopic or tubal pregnancy.
The importance of fertility testing
Generally, women with a single ovary who want to get pregnant are advised by doctors to try conceiving naturally for about a year before seeking the help of fertility experts.
If in case there is a failure to achieve pregnancy within that given time, the couple should undergo fertility testing. Having 1 ovary does not necessarily mean that the woman is the one with a fertility issue.
On the other hand, if there are recognizable ‘markers’ of difficulty in getting pregnant, such as an irregular or absent menstrual period, it may be best to seek help from a fertility doctor right away.
A scarring in the ovary or fallopian tube may have blocked the egg’s travel and destroyed the chances of the woman conceiving. Experts may require the woman to go through surgery to remove the scarring and increase the likelihood of ovulation.
At the end of the day, there are times when women with a single ovary are told that conceiving is close to impossible, but find themselves getting pregnant without any problem.
Conversely, there are those who were never seen with serious fertility issues but have never gotten pregnant. Thus, in order to best understand one’s chances of getting pregnant, it is best to consult with an expert every step of the way.