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In many instances, getting pregnant with one ovary is as easy as getting pregnant with two ovaries. Due to medical reasons, some women may have an ovary surgically removed, while others may be born with a single ovary.
If the ovary removal procedure damages a woman’s fallopian tubes or leads to the removal of one or both the fallopian tubes, a woman may have difficulty in getting pregnant. In this case, you should talk to your doctor. But if the fallopian tubes are fine, then a woman with a single ovary may respond well to fertility treatments and will not have any fertility issues.
What Are the Reasons for Ovary Removal?
Unilateral oophorectomy is a surgical procedure for the removal of one ovary. Fallopian tubes are also removed in many cases. Most of the time, oophorectomy and hysterectomy are done together. The removal of both the ovaries is not necessary if at least one of the ovaries is functioning correctly. But in the following conditions, your one ovary might be removed.
1. Ovarian Cysts
Fluid-filled sacs on the surface or in an ovary is called an ovarian cyst. Many women having ovarian cysts show no symptoms, but women with large cysts or polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) might show signs other than pain. In such a case you ovary might be removed.
2. Ovarian Cancer
Ovarian cancer begins in the ovary when the cells are mutated and multiply in an uncontrolled manner. Women with a family history of breast cancer or ovarian cancer are more susceptible to ovarian cancer. Thus ovarian cancer may make a woman consider removing her ovaries.
During the menstrual cycle, the lining inside the uterus sheds and emerges out of the vagina, which is termed as periods, however, this does not happen if a woman has endometriosis. In endometriosis, the uterine lining or the uterus tissues grow out of the uterus. If the uterine tissue reaches the ovaries, women experience pain and thus may lead to the removal of the ovaries.
In many cases, due to infection, a pocket of pus gets formed in the ovary – this is called an abscess. In such a case, a woman’s ovary might have to be removed.
Effects on Fertility with One Ovary
Can a woman with one ovary get pregnant? Yes, the chances of getting pregnant with one ovary are equal to the chances of getting pregnant with two ovaries. What plays an important role in fertility is the reason for the removal of the ovary. If the ovary had to be removed due to serious conditions, then it lowers the chances of fertility.
The most significant aspect of getting pregnant with one ovary is that it should be next to a healthy fallopian tube. Fallopian tubes hang near the ovaries and are not attached to them. Their primary role is to catch the egg when it is released from the ovaries. If the egg can reach the uterus through the tube, then there is no fertility problem.
Every month the ovaries release the egg alternatively. If only one ovary is present, an egg is still normally released every month. If the ovary is not adjacent to the fallopian tube, as long as it is healthy, the egg can reach the tube. Through this tube, the egg reaches the uterus. However, this increases the chances of an ectopic pregnancy.
How to Get Pregnant with One Ovary
Ovulation takes place normally in most women with a single ovary, and these women have no other problems in getting pregnant, although some women might have some fertility issues because they ovulate less frequently. When a woman with one ovary who wishes to conceive a child has concerns about her conditions, she should talk to a doctor. Follow these steps to get pregnant.
Visiting your doctor is the first step. Your doctor may suggest an ultrasound to check whether the single ovary is functioning properly. With the help of an ultrasound, your doctor will confirm if the ovary is releasing eggs at the right time or not. Other tests will also be done to make sure that you don’t face any other complications which might impair fertility.
Keep a calendar handy while trying to get pregnant. Mark in your days of ovulation. Women usually ovulate between days 11 and 21 of their menstrual cycle, counting from the first day of their last menstrual cycle.
Look for the signs of ovulation. You will experience a change in cervical mucus. During ovulation, your basal body temperature may increase. So, do not miss these signs.
The sperm can survive in a woman’s body for several days while the eggs can survive only less than 24 hours after ovulation. So, have sexual intercourse when you are ovulating or even before that, this will increase the chances of getting pregnant.
Yes, it will be hard for you to wait to see those blue lines on a pregnancy stick but wait a little more. Take pregnancy tests two weeks after ovulation. If the result is negative, repeat the process in the next menstrual cycle. It may take you several months to conceive, but don’t get disheartened, keep trying. However, if you are unable to get pregnant within 6 to 12 months, visit a doctor again.
If you are not ovulating properly, your doctor may give you fertility drugs. Take those on time. You can also go for assisted reproductive technology in such cases.
See your OBGYN or fertility specialist about possible treatments if you have been trying to get pregnant without success for more than 6 months. Your doctor may suggest that you go for fertility treatments, but the good news is that you will get pregnant. So, don’t lose hope and keep trying!