Journal of Human Reproductive Science
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Year : 2008  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 39-41

Unruptured ovarian pregnancy following in-vitro fertilization: Missed diagnosis followed by successful laparoscopic management

Bangalore Assisted Conception Center, #6/7, Kumara Krupa, High Grounds, Bangalore - 560 001, India

Date of Submission03-Jan-2008
Date of Decision11-Feb-2008
Date of Acceptance11-Feb-2008
Date of Web Publication24-Mar-2008

Correspondence Address:
S A Narvekar
Fellow in Reproductive Medicine, Bangalore Assisted Conception Center, #6/7, Kumara Krupa, High Grounds, Bangalore - 560 001
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0974-1208.39596

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Ovarian pregnancy after in-vitro fertilization is rare and can be easily missed unless there is a high index of suspicion. Here we present such a case which was missed initially but was later successfully managed laparoscopically.

Keywords: In-vitro fertilization, laparoscopy, ovarian pregnancy

How to cite this article:
Narvekar S A, VijayKumar P K, Shetty N, Gupta N, Ashwini G B, Rao K A. Unruptured ovarian pregnancy following in-vitro fertilization: Missed diagnosis followed by successful laparoscopic management. J Hum Reprod Sci 2008;1:39-41

How to cite this URL:
Narvekar S A, VijayKumar P K, Shetty N, Gupta N, Ashwini G B, Rao K A. Unruptured ovarian pregnancy following in-vitro fertilization: Missed diagnosis followed by successful laparoscopic management. J Hum Reprod Sci [serial online] 2008 [cited 2023 Mar 29];1:39-41. Available from:

Although the incidence of ectopic pregnancy is on the rise, ovarian pregnancy after in-vitro fertilization and embryo transfer (IVF-ET) is rare. Ovarian pregnancy accounts for 0.5-3% of all ectopic pregnancies [1] and the incidence of ovarian pregnancy after IVF has been reported to be 0.3%. [2] Here we report a case of unruptured ovarian pregnancy, following IVF-ET which was missed initially but later successfully managed laparoscopically.

   Case Report Top

The patient was 35-year-old with secondary infertility of 4 years. She had four natural conceptions, the first three of which were spontaneous first trimester abortions and the fourth a ruptured ectopic for which she underwent a laparotomy with right total salpingectomy.

She had regular cycles with normal hormonal profile. Her husband was detected to have mild asthenospermia. After four unsuccessful attempts at ovulation induction with intrauterine insemination, controlled ovarian hyperstimulation with IVF was planned for her.

After luteal phase downregulation with leuprolide acetate (Lupride Sun Pharmaceutical Halol, Gujarat India Ltd) and stimulation with recombinant follicle stimulating hormone (Recagon Organon, Ireland Pvt Ltd), five oocytes were retrieved from the right ovary. The left ovary did not yield any follicles. Three eight-cell stage embryos were transferred on day 3 under ultrasound guidance about 1.5 cm away from the fundus using Edward-Wallace catheter (Simcare, West Sussex, UK) with 20 l of culture fluid.

On day 14 after ET, her serum β hCG was 617.9 IU/l and on day 18, it increased to 4779.3 IU/l at which point the transvaginal scan revealed a thickened endometrium of 13 mm with multiple hemorrhagic corpora lutea in the right adnexa and small follicles in the left ovary. But we could not demonstrate any intra/extrauterine gestational sac. We decided to keep her under close observation for 48 h as she was asymptomatic and the initial rise in βhCG appeared adequate if multiple intrauterine gestations were considered. On day 20 after ET, the βHCG increased to 8350 IU/l. This time again, we could not demonstrate a gestational sac on scan. Hence we decided to perform a laparoscopy which revealed a bulky uterus with absent right tube and multiple hemorrhagic corpora lutea in the right ovary which was adhered to the lateral pelvic wall. The left tube and ovary were normal. There was 100 ml of straw colored fluid in the pouch of douglas (POD). Pregnancy could not be visualized elsewhere in the abdomen.

The patient was subsequently followed up with βhCG which showed a steady rise from 11,719 IU/l on 24 th day to 22,443 on 28 th day and then plateaued to 26,529 on day 30 of embryo transfer. At this point, a transvaginal scan was performed which revealed a gestational sac with a thick echogenic rim and a live fetus corresponding to 7 weeks within the substance of the right ovary. The patient now complained of bleeding PV, but no abdominal pain.

We performed laparoscopy for the second time and excised the suspicious cysts and visually inspected each one of them but failed to identify any chorionic/fetal tissue. We then performed vaginal scan after filling the pelvis with saline to locate the pregnancy. The gestational sac was deeply seated within the right ovary which was adhered to the lateral pelvic wall close to the iliac vessels making selective excision of the sac difficult hence an oopherectomy was performed [Figure - 1]. Histopathological examination confirmed the diagnosis of ovarian pregnancy. The patient had an uneventful recovery and is planned for IVF [Figure - 2].

   Discussion Top

Ovarian pregnancy following IVF is rare and to our knowledge only 13 cases have been reported so far. [2],[3]

The Spiegelberg's criteria [4] for an ovarian pregnancy include: (1)  Fallopian tube More Detailss, including fimbria, must be intact and separate from the ovary, (2) the pregnancy must occupy the normal position of the ovary, (3) the ovary must be attached to the uterus through the uteroovarian ligament, and (4) there must be ovarian tissue attached to the pregnancy in the specimen.

Our case did not meet the first criterion, as she had undergone an ipsilateral salpingectomy, but satisfied the rest.

This form of implantation could be the result of reverse migration of the embryo as a result of deep deposition of the embryo into the uterine cavity [5] or the use of large volume of culture fluid during transfer. [6] The presence of tubal pathology and pelvic inflammatory disease could also be the predisposing factors as with tubal pregnancies.

Ovarian pregnancy on sonography is typically described as a wide echogenic ring with a small internal echolucent area on the surface or within the substance of the ovary, the echogenicity of the ring usually being greater than the ovary. [7] A high degree of suspicion is needed, particularly in stimulated ovaries, wherein it can easily be mistaken for hemorrhagic corpora lutea. Doppler ultrasonography seems to offer little additional diagnostic value due to the high vascularity of the ovary. [7] In our case, we could identify the ovarian pregnancy only after the fetal pole appeared. The lesson that we learnt is that a thorough search by dissecting away the corpus luteum cysts at the time of laparoscopy should be done, to avoid missing an ovarian ectopic. An intraoperative vaginal scan aids in localization of the gestational sac within the ovary. Selective excision the gestational sac is the treatment of choice. [8]

There are few reports of successful use of systemic methotrexate in ovarian pregnancy. [9],[10] Successful treatment of ovarian pregnancy with 50-mg methotrexate injected into the ectopic sac at laparoscopy has also been reported. [11] Because of the limited literature available, unlike in tubal pregnancies, the factors predicting success with systemic methotrexate in ovarian pregnancy are not well defined.

We believe that laparoscopy remains the gold standard for diagnosis as well as treatment of ovarian pregnancy.

   References Top

1.Raziel A, Golan A, Pansky M. Ovarian pregnancy: A report of twenty cases in one institution. Am J Obstet Gynecol 1990;163:1182-5.  Back to cited text no. 1    
2.Marcus SF, Brinsden PR. Analysis of the incidence and risk factors associated with ectopic pregnancy following in-vitro fertilization and embryo transfer. Hum Reprod 1995;10:199.  Back to cited text no. 2    
3.Carter JE, JAJacobson A. Reimplantation of a human embryo with subsequent ovarian pregnancy. Am J Obstet Gynecol 1986;155:282.  Back to cited text no. 3    
4.Spiegelberg O. Zur kasuistik der ovarialschwangerschaft. Arch Gynaekol 1878;13:73-9.  Back to cited text no. 4    
5.Pope CS, Cook EK, Arny M, Novak, Grow DR. Influence of embryo transfer depth on in-vitro fertilization and embryo transfer outcomes. Fertil Steril 2004;81:51-8.  Back to cited text no. 5    
6.Zouves C, Erenus M, Gomel V. Tubal ectopic pregnancy after in-vitro fertilization and embryo transfer: A role for proximal occlusion or salpingectomy after failed distal tubal surgery. Fertil Steril 1991;56:691-5.  Back to cited text no. 6    
7.Comstock C, Huston K, Lee W. The Ultrasonographic appearance of ovarian ectopic pregnancies. Obstet Gynecol 2005;105:42-5.  Back to cited text no. 7    
8.Einenkel J, Baier D, Horn LC, Alexander H. Laparoscopic therapy of an intact primary ovarian pregnancy with ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome: Case report. Hum Reprod 2000;15:2037-40.  Back to cited text no. 8    
9.Kudo M, Tanaka T, Fujimoto S. A successful treatment of left ovarian pregnancy with methotrexate. Nippon Sanka Fujinka Gakkai Zasshi 1988;40:811-3.  Back to cited text no. 9    
10.Shamma FN, Schwartz LB. Primary ovarian pregnancy successfully treated with methotrexate. Am J Obstet Gynecol 1992;167:1307-8.  Back to cited text no. 10    
11.Mittal S, Dadhwal V, Baurasi P. Successful medical management of ovarian pregnancy. Int J Gynecol Obstet 2003;80:309-10.  Back to cited text no. 11    


  [Figure - 1], [Figure - 2]


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