An ovarian pregnancy is not that different from a tubal pregnancy. Tubal pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg implants in the fallopian tube or surrounding structures. An ovarian pregnancy occurs when the fertilized egg implants in the ovary. The pregnancy is considered life-threatening and if recognized before symptoms begin, the obstetrician will suggest ending the pregnancy immediately. If the pregnancy is allowed to continue growing, the risk of maternal death increases exponentially.
Is the Pregnancy Viable?
Ovarian pregnancies are not considered viable though there have been a few cases of full-term, healthy birth after undetected ovarian pregnancy. There are multiple reports of healthy births via ovarian pregnancy, but the number of live births does not outweigh the number of ruptured ovaries or lost pregnancies. There is absolutely no medical reason to assume an ovarian pregnancy is viable.
What is the Chance of Ovarian Implantation?
Less than 3% of ectopic pregnancies occur in the ovary and ectopic pregnancies are relatively rare – so the number of ovarian pregnancies reported each year is miniscule. There is some thought that using an IUD, intra-uterine device, as a means of birth control increases the risk of ovarian pregnancy. One article in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology reported 20 ovarian pregnancies all diagnosed in women using an IUD.
Do Ovarian Pregnancies Recur?
An ovarian pregnancy is nothing more than an ectopic pregnancy and that means the chance of recurrence is high – but recurrence does not necessarily mean another ovarian pregnancy. Being at increased risk for ectopic pregnancy, in general, means reduced risk of viable pregnancy, but advances in ectopic treatment have made pregnancy and parenthood possible for some women. Even without both fallopian tubes, the ovaries still produce eggs and those eggs can be harvested, fertilized and implanted in the uterus. If the ovaries are no longer producing eggs, donor eggs can be used.
Reference: Arieh Raziel, Abraham Golan, Mordechai Pansky, Raphael Ron-El, et al. American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. October 1990.