Ovulation: Myths and False Beliefs

When a woman wants to get pregnant, ovulation becomes a passionate matter. Something that wasn’t important, suddenly becomes a goal. “Am I certain that I ovulate? How do I know on which day I ovulate?” These are frequently asked questions.

That is why I would like to talk about some of the false beliefs we often encounter in our consultations.

Is it true that every month, ovulation happens in only one ovary?

Actually no, it isn’t, even though it is written in school text books.

The oocyte is a cell contained inside the follicle. Both develop simultaneously.

The follicles go through the following stages: primordial, primary, secondary and finally tertiary, when they have become mature.

The primordial follicles, during the first stage, lie in the ovary, until three months before the cycle in which ovulation takes place several start to grow and become primary follicles. This process is called recruitment.

Of all these follicles, only a few eventually become secondary, many atrophy and are left behind. This is called atresia process. Finally, only one among the secondary ones will become tertiary, measuring at that point 2 or 3 cm in diameter. If instead of being one they are two, the result is a twin pregnancy.

Throughout this process, the dominant follicle produces substances which inhibit the development of the other follicles. This occurs in all ovary tissue, it does not matter if it is on the right or left ovary. When a woman only has an ovary she always ovulates from this ovary. If she has two this process is randomized, which means she can ovulate from one ovary for several months in a row.

What if I don’t ovulate?

Many women fear not knowing whether they ovulate. I can tell you that, if menstrual cycles are regular, which means you have your period each month, it is certain that you ovulate.

Women who do not ovulate are those who don’t get their period, have it every several months, or have irregular cycles.

To know on which days you ovulate, it is enough to observe the usual length of your cycles. We know that 14 days go by from ovulation to the following period. Thus if your cycles are of 28 days, you will ovulate most likely on the 14th day of your cycle. And if they are of 27 days, you will ovulate on day 13th.

Although it is not always exact, you don’t need an ovulation test. It is more practical to have sexual intercourse between three days before and one day after you expect to ovulate. We know that sperm can remain alive, waiting for the oocyte for up to three days on the fallopian tubes, and that the oocyte can be fertilized within 24 hours (it degenerates one day after ovulation).

Ideally you should have sexual intercourse on these days, but not necessarily on all these days. Even if you have a mission, try to keep a bit of romance!

You should know that sperm moves from the vagina to the tube with a speed of 2-3mm a minute. Therefore, from the moment ejaculation occurs until the sperm reaches the oocyte, approximately 45-60 minutes go by… Only a few hours after sexual intercourse, you may already be pregnant!

Ovulating doesn’t mean you can get pregnant 

During the last years of menstruating, a woman cannot have healthy children. The physiological system which separates the chromosomes in the oocytes ages, and becomes ineffective. Thus, as time passes, the oocytes present alterations which prevent fertilization to take place, or which may lead to miscarriages.

This aging process is caused by the passing of time. Some believe that during pregnancy, or while taking contraception, oocytes are preserved, but this is not true. It is like thinking that while we sleep we do not age.

Another common misconception is believing that, if you have been taking contraceptive pills for a long time, you should wait several months before getting pregnant.

This is untrue, you can seek pregnancy from the moment you stop taking the pill. I guess this false belief is based on the fact that when ovulation does not occur over many cycles, it is frequent that it can be delayed.

What happens to the unfertilized oocytes?

The unfertilized eggs are microscopic cells that are eliminated by a type of white blood cells called macrophages, which are part of our cellular cleansing system. They are not eliminated throughout the period but recollected by these lymphocytes and brought to the blood stream.

Is fertility inherited? 

We know some aspects related to fertility are genetically determined and for this reason some families are more fertile than others. Therefore, the number of oocytes and of primordial follicles when a baby girl is born can be approximately 2 to 3 million. This is related to heredity linked to the X chromosome.

Our patients often tell us: I will probably start menopause at the same age my mother had it or a bit later. In industrialized societies this is changing. Since toxic substances, which are endocrine disruptors, get collected on the fat of the mother, the number of these cells is reduced along with the fertile age. This also occurs in men and for this reason male fertility decreases in areas contaminated by environmental toxics.

Finally, it is very typical to hear: “I had my first period at a very young age so this means I will reach menopause early”. This is not true. The age of menopause is not linked to the age of the first menstruation.


  1. Pauline Achieng Reply

    Not true all ovaries are released in 28 or 30days but only right side overy comes out because they are large,while left are very small cannot flow ,but both can be fertilised

    • Dr. Marisa López-Teijón Reply

      Dear Pauline,

      I’m sorry but I don’t understand the point of your question. Both ovaries work together as a unique ovary, so usually only one of hem will produce a mature oocite in every ovarian cicle. They don’t alterante.


      • Terri Reply

        Hi , I don’t know if you can help but , I had an eptopic pregnancy on my right Fallopian tube and they removed my whole tube , Iv gone for some tests to see if I have any problems , she done a scan and said I haven’t got a right Fallopian tube but I’m ovulating from my right ovary, and not my left where I have my only Fallopian tube , what I’m asking is will I ovulate on the left side next month ??? Also Iv read that in some cases the Fallopian tube can still pick up the egg from the opposite side of there isn’t a Fallopian tube ???

        • Dr. Marisa López-Teijón Reply

          Dear Terri,

          Contrary to what many people think, the side of ovulation is random and the ovaries not necessarily alternate each month. However, as you well said, the remaining tube can pick up the egg from the other side and therefore you still have high chances of getting pregnant.

          Kind regards

          • Aiza

            Hi. I have a question. I had a hysteroscopy last year because I had something that blocked my uterus. After that I started taking Clomid for ovulation. My period has been irregular since I had it the first time. My Obgyn told me that the result of my blood test taking clomid for ovulation is just 0.29 she already increase the dosage for me. My question is , is there any medication I can take for me to ovulate and what are the chances of me getting pregnant if I dont ovulate at all? Is the IUI an option for me to do if I dont ovulate at all? Please I need to Know. My husband and I are trying to concieve for four years now. I would appreciate any information about my situation. Thank you! God bless

          • Dr. Marisa López-Teijón

            Dear Aisa,

            Thank you for your e-mail.

            We have other medicines which can stimulate your ovulation. Please, you have to talk with your Doctor about some options for your specific case and clinical history.

            Best regards

  2. Clare Horan Reply

    I have always had regular periods but after trying to conceive for a year, tests showed I wasn’t ovulating. I have had friends who have also experienced this so I am confused that you state you must ovulate if you have regular periods. Please can you explain this.

    • Dr. Marisa López-Teijón Reply

      Dear Clare,

      Generally speaking, if a woman has regular periods less than 35 days long, she is ovulating. Regular periods accompanied by other signs such as breast tenderness or ”egg white” cervical mucus appearance strongly suggest that too. Although ovulation kits can be useful for reassurance, it might prove to be challenging to know the exact day when to test, so a positive test is indicative of ovulation but a negative one can be due to wrong date. To know when to test, from ovulation to the next period is generally 14 days so if you have 28 days cycle, you count back 14 days which means you myth have ovulated around day 14. If you have a 30 days cycle, counting back 14 days, your ovulation was around day 16 of your cycle. I hope this is helpful.

      Kind regards

  3. Stacey Reply

    I feel I ovulate on the right side each month as that is where I get pain around ovulation. But I have also heard that having pain on a certain side doesn’t mean that you have actually ovulated on that side? Is this true?


    • Dr. Marisa López-Teijón Reply

      Dear Stacey,

      Having pain on a certain side doesn’t mean that the ovulation is happening on this side.

      Kind regards

  4. Nisssooo Reply

    I am 24 F
    Have low amh 0.8 ng/ml
    Fsh 8.3
    Lh 4.8
    I was given benforce m ebexid for 1 month
    Ovulator tablet for 5 days.
    Please provide ur suggestions. Am i on the right track?
    Last month i took siphene 100 2 times a day for 5 days. Got 25 mm follicle. But ended up negative. Got bleeding on and off no continuous flow. Is it due to tablet side effects

    • Dr. Marisa López-Teijón Reply

      Dear Nisssooo,

      If you don’t have regular periods, the medication you mention might help you to ovulate. The 25mm follicle shows that you responded to the treatment but ovulation doesn’t guarantee prenancy as it might take few cycles before you achieve one. Your AMH is showing a low ovarian reserve so you should consider soon to move to other treatments if induction of ovulation is not successful after 6-12months.

      Kind regards

  5. Hi Dr. Marisa,
    I have been surfing online many hours lately, yet I by no means found any interesting article like yours. Thanks for elaborating on the fact that ovulation has no relationship with neither pregnancy nor inheritance. I’ve had friends who had regular periods but after trying to get a baby, they found out that they were not ovulating. You stated that ovulation and periods go hand in hand. Please elaborate that further, help a friend to help a friend. Thanks.
    Best Regards,
    Julia Morales.

    • Dr. Marisa López-Teijón Reply

      Hi Julia,

      Thank you very much for your kind words. It’s a great pleasure for me to know that my medical experience can helps.

      Warm rega

  6. Carly Reply

    Hi Dr Marisa,

    I have a unicornuate uterus, with 2 functioning ovaries, although my right ovary is very high the doctors don’t believe my only fallopian tube will be able to retrieve the egg from this ovary. We have been trying for almost 2 years and have completed 1 round of IVF, unsuccessfully. I now want to get scanned to see if I am ovulating from my left ovary each month, but the doctors say this is a whole monitoring cycle and will cost £500 every month! Is there any other way to know when I am ovulating from my left ovary, so I know I have the potential to get pregnant?

    • Dr. Marisa López-Teijón Reply

      Hi Carly

      The only way to assess which side you are ovulating from, would be by doing regular scans and check which side is producing a dominant follicle. Apart from ovulation, other factors need to be taken into account to know if you are fertile (like tubal patency, sperm quality). If you already have a history of 2 years of infertility, IVF might be the best way to go but your doctor is the best person to assess this by taking into account your previous response to IVF
      Yours sincerely,

  7. Maaza Reply

    I am 27yrs old.. planning for a baby but not getting pregnant. My husband and I had few tests and results were positive..My doctor suggested to have only folic acid tablets and said everything is good and pregnancy Wil happen naturally.. But my concern is my egg s getting released only on the right side for consecutive 4 months and I am having slight pain on my left side.. tis pain lasts hardly for 3 to 4 seconds but comes often…is it normal or something to worry?? Please suggest..thanks..

    • Dr. Marisa López-Teijón Reply

      Hi Mrs Maaza,

      This pain you explain does not suggest anything to worry about. If all the investigations came back normal, your chances of spontaneous pregnancy are high given your age.

      Yours sincerely,

      • Maaza Reply

        Thank you so much Dr.Marisa..good to hear from you..one last question for my satisfaction please..Is it normal that the egg is getting ruptured only from the right side continuously??

  8. Laney Reply

    Hello Dr.,
    Thank you for this article. I have another question on ectopic pregnancy. I only have my left tube and was wondering when I do finally conceive should I request to be checked on earlier to make sure I don’t risk have another one and lose this tube as well? I’m so scared it will happen again. Anything you could recommend to do would be great. Thank you for your time.

    • Dr. Marisa López-Teijón Reply

      Dear Laney.
      If you have a history of an ectopic pregnancy, this could be due to tubal disease and is some cases both tubes are affected.. As you well mention, it is advisable to do an early pregnancy scan to rule out an ectopic pregnancy in the remaining tube but remember ectopic pregnancies are not that frequent so you could still have a perfectly ongoing intrauterine pregnancy
      Best regards

  9. Aiza Reply

    Hi. I had a hysteroscopy last year because I had something that blocked my uterus. After that I started taking Clomid for ovulation. My period has been irregular since I had it the first time. My Obgyn told me that the result of my blood test taking clomid for ovulation is just 0.29 and it has to be double digit to say that I ovulate with the dosage of Clomid I’m taking, she already increase the dosage for me. My question is , is there any medication I can take for me to ovulate and what are the chances of me getting pregnant if I dont ovulate at all? Is the IUI an option for me to do if I dont ovulate at all? Please I need to Know. My husband and I are trying to concieve for four years now. I would appreciate any information about my situation. Thank you! God bless

  10. shariff Reply


    My wife suffered from tuberculosis when she was 3 month pregnant,after we made abortion
    After several months she had ectopic pregnancy for this reason doctor removed left fallopian tube .

    After we trying but nothing will be happen

    Now i am diceded to make IUI plz give me a suggetion

    I am really confusion and unhappy plz plz help me.


    • Dr. Marisa López-Teijón Reply

      Dear shariff,

      It is posible to proceed with an IUI but you have to be sure that your wife is ovulating in the right ovarian and her right tube is patent.

      Kind regards

  11. Wenda Reply

    Hi there,
    Thank you, im glad to hear that cervical mucus changes (egg white ) and regular menstruation mean your ovulating,I have been searching for that answer.
    My main question today is being an old bird can I conceive at 44yrs or older?
    I’ve always had longer than 28 day cycles (31/32 days), however I had four back to back 28 day periods just before turning 40 yrs old, I felt normal! Then when my fortieth birthday came I actually conceived that month but miscarried at almost 12 weeks.
    We tried on and off and luckily we got pregnant a year on and I gave birth to a gorgeous healthy little man at 42. Im 44 now and my cycles still average around 32 days,some less,with egg white mid cycle ,so what do you think? Is it still possible ?
    Much appreciated.

    • Dr. Marisa López-Teijón Reply

      Dear Wenda,

      At this age we strongly recommend to proceed with an egg donation treatment due to the poor chances of success using your own eggs.

      Kind regards

    • Mildred Garcia Reply

      Don’t get discorage. I am 45 years old and my last baby was conceived naturally at 43, born when I was 44. She is 16 months. I am trying to give her a sibling but I found out That my left fallopian tube is blocked now. I just went for a sonogram and they told me that I had just ovulated from the left side (the one that is closed) As soon as I get my period , I will start clomid 100 mg from day 2-6, praying to ovulate from my right ovary . Go to your doctor and get tested for everything so you know where are you standing. Good luck

  12. Amy Reply

    Dear Dr Marisa,

    I have been told that I have a low ovarian reserve (I am 36). I started doing scans every period to track my antral follicle count. Last 2 periods at my day 5 scan I already had dominant follicles. This month on day 6 the biggest one was only 6 mm :( does this mean they will not be growing this month, or is there still hope? I should mention that my period is nornally 26 days.
    Thank you so much for tour help!

    • Dr. Marisa López-Teijón Reply

      Dear Amy,

      Having no dominant follicle on your day 6 scan can be still be normal. Cycles length might vary from cycle to cycle and the dominant follicle might be more visible from day 9 onwards.

      Kind regards

  13. Rachel Reply

    Very informative article, thank you. My question is in regards to hyper-ovulation. I have regular cycles and can easily tell when I am ovulating due to changes in cervical mucus. Most literature I read mentions the egg-white appearance occurring for one day, but most months I experience this for 2-3 days. Does this indicate hyper-ovulation? Twins are heavy in my family and I always wondered if there was a correlation.

    • Dr. Marisa López-Teijón Reply

      Dear Rachel,
      Every woman is different so not everyone has the same experiences, when you say that these 2 – 3 days with white flow is normal, it is not indicative of hyper ovulation or because of the number of twins that there are in your family. When you ovulate you can have this kind of flow a couple of days instead of just one day as usual.

      I hope I helped you

  14. Rachel Reply

    I also want to mention that when I had an ultrasound performed during my cycle (I was to become an egg donor) I was told I had a high follicle count. I think it was somewhere between 20-30. Is a high follicle count related to hyper-ovulation or twin pregnancies? I am concerned about twins because I plan to conceive in the next few months. I already have two children who were total surprises; as in we thought we were being as safe as one can be without the use of contraceptives, and I am worried that the one time I actually try to conceive it will be twins.

    • Dr. Marisa López-Teijón Reply

      Dear Rachel,

      Such a high number of follicles is characteristic of polycystic ovaries. So under an ovarian stimulation in an assisted reproduction treatment, it can cause a hyperstimulation but it is not an exact science. I advise you to go to your gynaecologist. The doctor will give you all the necessary informations checking your ultrasounds and studying your case. I have very little information to tell you more

      Warmest regards

  15. Millie Reply

    Does painful ovulation mean it lasts longer than normal?? I get crampy and have the EWCM for about a week its alot and annoying! Is that normal? I dont use BC but still no baby, and wondering if i should get checked out

    • Dr. Marisa López-Teijón Reply

      Dear Millie
      Many women could feel pain during the ovulation process as well as cramps, chills, heavy flow…
      I do not have enough information to know why you don’t get pregnant.
      I advise you to do a review to check the EWCM.

      Best regards

  16. Sanjana Reply

    Hello Marisa, hope u r doing good. i want to share my history of pregnancy that lasted for 3 months in the year 2017 as my fetus got detected with Edward syndrome but that was an unplanned pregnancy and also i felt that it happened due to alcohol intake the very same month due to unawareness of pregnancy.

    i am now looking forward to plan for my pregnancy again in the month of March but i lastly had alcohol in the month of November 2017 n that too moderate amount. Now since recently i read that the egg starts maturing 3 months before it goes for ovulation, i am feeling worried whether or not i should go for planning in the month of March. Its high time now, i will be of 30 years this September. Can u please suggest whether i must wait 2-3 months more.


    • Dr. Marisa López-Teijón Reply

      Dear Madam,

      There is no problem in looking for a pregnancy now because if you have not taken alcohol excessively since November there is no risk for diseases related to alcohol abuse.

      Best regards

  17. Lucy Reply

    Thank you for your article! Very informative.

    I am on my third cycle post-miscarriage. According to my ovulation tests, I ovulated on day 15 last cycle. I am currently on day 12 and had a scan. The tehnician could see “lots of follicles” but no dominant follicle. Does this mean I will likely not ovulate this month?

    My other concern is that my luteal phase seems to be varying. My first cycle post-miscarriage it was 13 days, and last cycle it was 10. I thought the luteal phase was always the same?

    Thank you!

    • Dr. Marisa López-Teijón Reply

      Dear Lucy,

      By day 12 is common to see a dominant follicle but not having one not necessarily means you are not going to ovulate as this could be a long cycle with a delayed ovulation. The luteal phase is generally 10-14 days so don be worried about a slight variation.

      Kind regards,

  18. Akanksha Kulshrestha Reply


    I had an ectopic in Dec-16. through out 2017 I was taking different different medicines for Ovulating (Letoval, Good Ova, Ovasheild DS).
    So this month in JAN -18 I thought of not going to any doctor for a month or two.
    Just did my follical study yesterday (Day 13th) and there is no follicle.

    Is it ok to not have follicle for a month or two. Or should I immediately go and check with doctor

    • Dr. Marisa López-Teijón Reply

      Dear Akanksha,
      The number of follicular counts at the optimal moment of the cycle gives us important information about the ovarian reserve.
      After the follicular study, I recommend you to trust in the specialist who did the exam.
      Kind regards,

  19. Jessica Reply

    I was born with one kidney right. My left ovary is where my kidney should be. My uterus is on right side of my body and right ovary on left side of uterus. Only one ovary attached.. do i ovulate from the “good” ovary every month or do i switch even thpugh my left ovary isnt close to the tube or uterus at all on other side of body?

    • Dr. Marisa López-Teijón Reply

      Dear Jessica,

      Even in women with a normal ovular situation, ovulation does not necessarily occur alternately. In your case, therefore, it is not possible to know if both ovaries take turns ovulating.

      Best regards

  20. Meagan Reply


    Due to PCOS(which I never knew I had until I started seeing a reproductive endocrinologist) my son was conceived through my second IUI. During my second try at IUI my RE had to continue stimulating my follicles to get them to mature, which resulted in conception and a very healthy pregnancy. I want one more. Can someone who has PCOS and could only conceive after further follicle stimulation to only get pregnant from IUI ever be able to conceive on their own?


    • Dr. Marisa López-Teijón Reply

      Dear Meagan,

      Good Morning,

      It depends on the polycystic syndrome stage you have if you can get pregnant naturally.
      You will have to go to a specialist to be evaluated.

      I wish it goes well,

      Warmest regards

  21. Krys Reply

    Good day!
    My right ovary is polycystic. I undergo transvaginal ultrasound last January and found 1 mature follicle on my left. I have regular period. I had period this February 16. My question now is, is it possible to still ovulate on my left ovary this month?

    • Dr. Marisa López-Teijón Reply

      Dear Krys,

      Yes, indeed, it is still possible that you ovulate on your left this month. Ovulation does not have a pattern , so it is possible to ovulate on any of them in each cycle. The only way to know for sure is if you undergo an ultrasound during ovulation.

      Thank you for taking part in our blog.

      Regards and good luck.

  22. Sonia Reply

    My doctor told me i have very low ovarian activity and very little eggs left, do this mean i am going to enter early menopause on a very short time?
    Thanks and Best regards

    • Dr. Marisa López-Teijón Reply

      Dear Sonia,

      The low ovarian activity may be related to menopause but it is not a clear indicator. In order to check it you could have some hormonal blood test, such as FSH or pay attention to some symptoms such as hot flashes, urogenital symptoms, irregular menstruations or mood changes.

      Good luck and thank you for taking part in our blog.

  23. Mrs.Z Reply

    Hi, today is my cycle day 10, I took clomid cycle day 3-7, I went for my blood work and ultrasound , the nurse told me, my right ovary has one 20mm follicle , meanwhile left one had two 6.7 , but my right tube is blocked, I am so nervous, is my iui gonna cancel since I ovulated from the wrong side?

    • Dr. Marisa López-Teijón Reply

      Dear Mrs.Z

      The ovulation can take place in each one or sometimes both at the same time, there is not a pattern. The fact that your right tube is blocked means that you will not be able to get pregnant when it is the right ovary that ovulates because the egg cannot be fecundated.

      I hope I have helped, good luck.

  24. Lori Reply

    Dear Dr,

    I am 34 and have regular periods on a 27 or 28 day cycle every month. 14 days before my period I get intense pain on my left side only – I have always assumed this to be ovulation pain – and it lasts for around 6- 12 hours or so. but it is only ever on my left side…

    I have been trying to conceive now for 8 months but no luck – could the pain be something other than ovulation pain? perhaps something wrong with my left fallopian tube? I’m worried I am not ovulating from my right side at all and that there is something wrong with my left.


    • Dr. Marisa López-Teijón Reply

      Dear Lori,

      The pain you describe is the typical pain of ovulation. It does not mean that you only ovulate from the left ovary, but that the reflection of that pain appears on your left flank. If you are very concerned about the permeability of your tubes, there is a test called Hysterosalpingography used to determine the permeability of your tubes.
      On the other hand 8 months is a short time for trying to have a baby, there are couples who take more than a year to become pregnant. Do not get discouraged and keep trying.

      Warmest regards

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