Woman with one ovary looking at pregnancy test results

Can you get pregnant with one ovary?

Medically reviewed on August 17, 2022 by Jordan Stachel, M.S., RDN, CPT. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.


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If you want to start a family or you’re planning on making your current family a little bit bigger, you want to do everything you can to ensure that fertility levels are where they need to be. If you aren’t can't conceive right away, something out of your control might be causing the problem. Physiological complications, hormonal deficiencies, and menstrual irregularities can negatively impact the ability to get pregnant.

If you’ve had ovarian removal surgery to get rid of an ovarian cyst and only have a single ovary, you might also be wondering, “Can I get pregnant with one ovary?” The answer varies depending on the individual. If you only have one ovary, the chances of getting pregnant won’t necessarily be affected—depending on certain factors. [1] Read on to learn more.

What causes ovary removal?

The main factor that influences whether an ovary removal surgery will impact fertility is the reason you had to have an oophorectomy. You see, it isn’t the removal of the ovary itself that will cause you to have trouble conceiving. Instead, it can be the underlying condition that led to removal.

Some of the reasons one of your ovaries might be surgically removed include: [2]

  • Endometriosis – Endometriosis is a painful condition in which the uterine tissue grows in places outside of the uterus. If this occurs on the ovaries, it can be very painful and lead to scarring. Sometimes, the best way to alleviate some of the pain and discomfort is to remove one of the ovaries.
  • Cysts – Cysts can form on the ovaries for many different reasons. They sometimes go away on their own without you ever knowing they were there. Other times, cysts can get very large or even rupture, causing pain and discomfort. Other times, medical conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) cause cysts to develop. Because PCOS is also a disorder that impacts hormones, it may interfere with the ability to conceive.
  • Ovarian cancer – Another reason ovary removal may be necessary is an ovarian cancer diagnosis. Sometimes one (or both) ovaries are removed to reduce the risk of cancer returning. In unilateral removal, only one ovary is removed. Bilateral removal takes out both ovaries and the fallopian tubes.
  • Benign tumors – Not all tumors are cancerous. Some benign tumors can cause pain and discomfort. Ovaries that experience benign tumors may be removed to reduce the severity of the pain. The ovary may also need to be removed to lessen the risk of a cancerous tumor developing later.
  • Infections – Finally, a severe infection may necessitate the removal of an ovary if the body doesn’t respond to antibiotic treatment. It is rare for an oophorectomy to be performed due to an infection, but it can happen.

What happens after ovary removal surgery?

An oophorectomy is a serious surgery and isn’t typically performed unless necessary. After the surgery, some of the potential impacts may include: [3]

  • Risk of infection at the surgery site
  • The onset of menopausal symptoms following the surgery
  • Lowered capacity for IVF (although not a lowered likelihood that the procedure will work)

Fertility levels should not change after an ovary is removed. They should return to normal after recovery from the surgery.

How can you improve your chances of getting pregnant with one ovary?

Once you’ve recovered from an oophorectomy, you can take action to improve your chances of getting pregnant. The things you can do are the same as those you would try if you didn’t have an oophorectomy. They include: [4]

  • Eating a healthy diet rich in antioxidants
  • Getting regular, moderate exercise
  • Maintaining a healthy weight that is neither too high nor too low
  • Avoiding food with high levels of pesticide exposure
  • Consuming foods containing folic acid
  • Quitting smoking and avoiding excessive alcohol consumption
  • Speaking with your healthcare provider about any medications you take that may interfere with fertility
  • Tracking your menstrual cycle and being aware of the times you’re most fertile
  • Having vaginal intercourse during your fertility window

While none of these actions guarantee that you’ll conceive with one remaining ovary, they can help you ensure that your body is as healthy as possible and ready to take on the challenge of pregnancy.

Explore your fertility levels with Everlywell

Can you get pregnant with one ovary? Yes—in many cases surgical removal of the ovary won’t harm your fertility if the remaining ovary is still attached to a fallopian tube. However, the reason behind ovarian removal surgery may cause you to have some problems getting pregnant. Endometriosis and other health conditions can be a catalyst for ovarian surgery and might interfere with fertility. That's why it's important to consult with a healthcare provider or fertility specialist to officially diagnose any fertility problem and to recommend the right infertility treatment for conception, whether that's IVF treatment, a follicle-stimulating hormone, or intrauterine insemination.

If you’re looking for answers about your fertility levels, we might be able to help. The Everlywell Female Hormone Test measures levels of hormones that can influence fertility. It’s a simple, at-home test that can help you gain some insight into your reproductive health.

Are ovarian cysts genetic?

Can stress cause ovarian cysts?

What is a follicle on the ovary?


References

  1. Human Reproduction. RIght-SIded Ovulation Favors Pregnancy. URL. Accessed August 17, 2022.
  2. NIH. Oophorectomy. URL. Accessed August 17, 2022.
  3. The Impact of Unilateral Oophorectomy on Ovarian Reserve. URL. Accessed August 17, 2022.
  4. BC Medical Journal. Optimizing Fertility. URL. Accessed August 17, 2022.
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