Does a borderline tumour on one ovary hinder the chance of a natural pregnancy
Dear Professor Winston,

I’m 36 and have only one ovary (due to a borderline tumour at 22). My very busy gynaecologist is never able to give me a clear answer on how much harder it might be for me to become pregnant, simply saying that it’s still possible but that I should ‘get on with it.’

Early on egg-freezing was mentioned and recent research online suggest early menopause is a possibility with only one ovary.

Are there any statistics or guidance that you could give me on just how impaired my chances of naturally falling pregnant might be?




Dear Clare,

An important question is the nature of the ovarian tumour you describe.  Do you have any histological reports?

In general, I am sorry to tell you, that borderline tumours of the ovary are not very good news for fertility.  Yes, it will be harder to conceive but the nature of the original tumour is all important. Unfortunately, I expect your response to egg collection for egg freezing may not be particularly good in releasing really good viable eggs, particularly as you are now 36 years old. You don’t say whether you are trying to get pregnant at the moment and whether you have a partner, but if you do I would’ve thought that in vitro fertilisation might be worth considering if you have been attempting to get pregnant for a while already. Unfortunately your email gives me so few details as it is quite difficult to give you better advice, I certainly cannot give you adequate statistical information.

I must tell you however that even with only one ovary most women have an excellent chance of getting pregnant providing that ovary is healthy. In my view, if you are trying to get pregnant at the present time the first investigation that should be considered, fairly early is a laparoscopy to see if you have any adhesions around your remaining ovary or tubes, or whether that ovary has any suggestions of abnormality. That information would be very reassuring. Of course, if you don’t have a partner at the moment (and unfortunately you don’t tell me this) it is difficult to steer you in the right direction.

I hope information is helpful.

Best wishes

Robert Winston

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