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Can You Get Pregnant Without Ovulation?

Can You Get Pregnant Without Ovulation?


Did you know that not every woman ovulates each month? You may wonder if it’s possible to get pregnant without ovulating, and the simple answer is: no. Ovulation means that your body has released a healthy egg. No matter how much sperm is present, pregnancy cannot occur without the release of this egg because there’s nothing for the sperm to fertilize. Sometimes women’s irregular or missed periods mean they have not ovulated, and this can indicate various health problems like polycystic ovary syndrome. For example, did you know that every one out of 10-20 menstruating women in the United States suffer from this particular disorder? This is just one of the many possible reasons why a woman may not ovulate.

If you’re not ovulating regularly, does that mean you can’t get pregnant?

It’s important not to misinterpret this information and think that you cannot get pregnant because you haven’t been ovulating for a long time; that’s not true. For example, you may have irregular cycles and assume you won’t ovulate this month; therefore, you might have unprotected intercourse because you think you’re not at risk for getting pregnant. However, even though you haven’t ovulated for a long time, it still doesn’t mean that you aren’t about to ovulate again; ovulation can happen at any time. In fact, the British Medical Journal reported that women don’t always ovulate only once a month; they can release an egg up to three times in a month, and they can potentially be fertile on any day of the month.

If tests say you haven’t ovulated yet, does that mean you can still get pregnant?

Supposing a standard, home ovulation test reports that you haven’t released an egg yet, you may wonder: can you get pregnant by having unprotected intercourse at this time? The answer is: yes. According to doctor’s advice on, sperm can survive several days in the female reproductive tract, so having intercourse up to six days before ovulation happens is, in fact, most likely to result in pregnancy. Ovulation kits tell you that your ovary released an egg, but an egg has an average lifespan of only 24 hours. You could get a positive ovulation test result after the egg has already missed its chance for pregnancy.



Resources: 7/8/2013

US Department of Health and Human Services on Women’s Health
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

British Medical Journal; Owen Dyer
Women may ovulate two or three times a month
2003 July 19; 327(7407): 124

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