I tend to think of my ovaries as a disruptive pair of twins not unlike the little girls in the blue dresses in The Shining. However, some women have only one ovary waiting around to make them bleed or hand out eggs. You keep your ovaries in mind a lot more once you're trying to conceive, but how do you get pregnant with one ovary? Do you need a matching set?
There are many reasons why a woman may have only one ovary, though the most common reason is surgical removal, according to Human Reproduction. If a woman has a particularly cystic ovary, or premature ovarian failure, it is likely that a doctor will choose to remove that ovary to prevent any possible complications in the future. This can be very worrying for women who are hoping to become pregnant in the future.
Fortunately, women who have only one ovary can and do get pregnant. According to Columbia University's Ask Alice, the ovary that remains begins to work double time, taking over all the ovarian duties that a pair would normally accomplish. Basically, it's like when I go out on a paddleboat with my husband and I do precisely zero paddling. Somehow, we still end up all over the lake, and only one paddler has been doing anything.
While Columbia University says it's absolutely possible to get pregnant if you have only one ovary, it might not be easy. You see, because that ovary is working overtime, it gets ready to retire early. Women with only one ovary are prone to early pre-menopause and menopausal symptoms, including problems with ovulation. SteadyHealth magazine suggested to its readers that women with one ovary shouldn't wait to consult with a reproductive endocrinologist when they decide they're ready for a family, because delaying pregnancy increases the likelihood of problems conceiving. Human Reproduction found that women who have only one ovary also react differently to fertility medications than women who have two, so more options than traditional treatments may need to be explored.
Can you get pregnant with one ovary? Yes, but the bottom line is that it's a wise decision to talk to a specialist if you want to get pregnant, and take the proper precautions against pregnancy if you don't.