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But I Can't Be Pregnant!

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"Listen to me: getting pregnant involves certain physical requirements that I haven't met in a long time, and I mean a very long time!"
Xena (to her doctor), Xena: Warrior Princess

A character finds themself or their female partner pregnant despite something that should limit pregnancy, such as being declared infertile by doctors, when the prospective parents are of different species, of grandparenting age, or if the mother hasn't had sex in a long time, if ever. Often, the male will accuse his partner of cheating, only to eat crow later when medical tests (either on himself or a paternity test) proves he's the father. In television, this trope is often the result of an actress' real-life pregnancy. A favored trope of soap operas.

Sometimes the pregnancy is considered good news, sometimes bad news. Either way, if it's very much unexpected news, then it's this trope.

If there is some sort of supernatural explanation for why this supposedly infertile character is pregnant, see Mystical Pregnancy. It's nearly inevitable that this will happen in a Late Pregnancy Realization.

Not to be confused with Miss Conception, where a character is simply wrong about why they can't or shouldn't be pregnant.

Since this trope appears in The Bible, it is Older Than Feudalism.

See also: But We Used a Condom!, Law of Inverse Fertility, Surprise Pregnancy.


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    Comic Books 
  • In The Great Ten, this is part of Mother of Champions' backstory. She was incredulous when she discovered she was pregnant, for a number of reasons - one, because her husband had recently left her due to her inability to conceive, and two, because she was visibly pregnant the day after her drunken one-night stand. As it turns out, she'd developed a special, ahem, gift, giving birth to twenty-five boys days later.
  • Wanda Maximoff, aka the Scarlet Witch, got this twice. First, she conceived a child even though her husband was the android Vision. Second, while delivering her son, she turned out to be carrying twins, even though neither science nor magic had detected a second baby. The twins' existence was eventually explained through a combination of Wanda's reality-warping powers and demonic interference.
  • Wanda's fellow Avenger Ms. Marvel also once found herself pregnant without knowing how and then within a matter of days came to full term, delivering a boy in the infamous The Avengers #200. It turned out to be a sordid story of Marcus, son of the time-travelling Immortus, abducting Carol Danvers, rewriting her memories, and using her to give birth to himself so that he could live with her. To make it worse none of the Avengers seemed at all bothered by this until a later issue by Chris Claremont had Carol come back and deliver an epic What the Hell, Hero? to the Avengers (and presumably the editors who let that one slip by).

    Fan Works 
  • In Harry Potter and the Something Something, Harry's Unwanted Harem has their drinks spiked with a pregnancy spell by a Ron the Death Eater Dumbledore. This includes Blaise Zabini, who, as per canon, is male. His reaction is this trope. This sums up a lot about this fic.
  • In Timing is Everything, Raven is shocked when she gets pregnant - she's only supposed to be capable of having children with someone who has demon blood. However, she's dating Beast Boy, and apparently, his shapeshifting abilities extend to his sperm enough to fool Raven's reproductive system.
  • Ghosts of Evangelion: When Asuka’s doctor informs her that she is pregnant, she doesn't want to believe it.
    "You're pregnant," the doctor said.
    Asuka stared at her, stunned. "That's impossible," she said.
    The doctor quirked an eyebrow. "Your body seems to disagree," she said mildly.
    "You don't understand," Asuka began. "I'm on birth control, for my periods. I can't even get pregnant."
    The doctor shrugged. "I can show you an ultrasound if you like."
  • Happened in the Mass Effect's Resurgence (third part of the Parable series), Jane didn't believe the news at first because of two big reasons: 1) She was born infertile due to her mother's drug-abusing habit during her own pregnancy, and 2) Her husband Garrus was an alien and a dextro one at that. But as it turns out, her "Reaper uterus" has managed to create two fetuses using a combination of an incomplete ovum and a pair of sperms for each one, so the babies turned out to be mostly turian with some human traits replacing inferior turian ones.
  • Inverted in Mission's end, mission's beginning. Kirk is well aware of the likely cause of those suspiciously morning-sickness-esque symptoms, due to Bizarre Human Biology and Pon Farr. It's the doctor who doesn't quite believe it.
  • In the Zootopia comic I Will Survive Judy finds out she's pregnant by Nick. There has never been a prey/predator pregnancy before. Nick is ecstatic at the news, but Judy wants an abortion because (amongst other reasons) how the baby will turn out is unknown and it might even be too dangerous to carry to term.
  • Joys of the Parenthood - The Țepeș Edition: The fact that Lisa wound up pregnant comes as a complete surprise to both her and Dracula, considering her husband's undead nature.
  • In My Pain, My Thrill, Peach ends up pregnant by her secret lover Bowser. No one knew it was possible for koopas and humans to interbreed. The pregnancy isn't noticed until Peach suddenly goes into labor. Peach herself fell into a coma and was kept out-of-the-loop on her son Bowser Jr. until three years afterwards.
  • Carol Danvers from A Prize for Three Empires is shocked when she is said she is pregnant: both she and her lover used protection, and he has been dead for longer than she has been pregnant.
  • Hang-On: Due to being told that she is incapable of having children, Anita is in denial that she's pregnant, even when it becomes obvious as time goes on.
  • In the Witcher fic Red Rowan, Shani informs Geralt that she is pregnant with his child, though she admits that even she was skeptical about it at first, as witchers are relatively well-known to be infertile. Geralt doesn't know how to take this, until he realizes that something in his past may help explain the anomaly.
  • Love Can Surprise You At Any Time In Your Life: Being a mutant who grew up thinking she was an alien, Leela was unsure if she could ever get pregnant from a human, especially since her reproductive system is complicated (she apparently alternates between having a normal period and occasionally laying an egg). She thus finds it hard to believe Lars got her pregnant, writing off Zoidberg's ultrasound as just some mutant anomaly inside of her, until a better doctor confirms it.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The Czech films Divided We Fall and Little Otik both in a sense follow this trope and subvert it. Both couples in both films are infertile (in both cases it seems it is HIS fault, not hers), and both couples get around nature to create a child, either a real one - by using someone else to impregnate the wife (Divided We Fall) or a monstrous one, by using a piece of wood carved into the rough shape of a child as a doll, which then comes to life and starts to devour the household (Little Otik). In each case, it is the neighbours who are forced to suspend their disbelief at the "fact" the wife is pregnant, rather than the couple themselves, who collude in trying to bring a child into the world.
  • Baby Mama: At the end of the film, Kate, who was supposed to be infertile or close to, discovers that she is pregnant.
  • Dogma. Despite having been infertile for apparently years, at the end of the movie Bethany is told by Metatron that she's miraculously pregnant (necessary because she's the Last Scion - need to keep that bloodline going). It's heavily implied that because she's a descendant of the Virgin Mary her pregnancy is similar to Mary's conception of Jesus.
  • In the French-Canadian film Familia: teenage Marguerite learns she is pregnant, but she's never had sex. Though not really religious, she begins to wonder if this is a second virgin birth. She eventually learns that someone slipped her a date-rape drug at a party; she thought she had just been really drunk.
  • In Hannah and Her Sisters, Mickey is diagnosed as infertile years before the events in the film but by the end his new wife Holly is pregnant.
  • In Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Abe finds out that Liz is pregnant with Hellboy's children. Later, Liz is seen going through about four or five pregnancy tests, on account of the pregnancy being physically impossible for several reasons.
  • Prometheus uses this in the most horrifying way imaginable: Even though she is unable to bear children, Elizabeth finds out that she is indeed pregnant, but with an alien abomination. And so she performs emergency surgery on herself while conscious in order to remove the creature from her womb.
  • Starman: After he and Jenny made love on the train Starman proclaims "I gave you a baby tonight." Jenny says that this is impossible because she is incapable of having a child. Starman explains that he used his powers to alleviate this.
  • Once Bella becomes pregnant in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Edward asks if it's even possible as he is a vampire (who doesn't age) and Bella is a human. When you consider it, that's not the question he should be asking. The real question is, how did a being with no functioning circulatory system manage to - ahem - get happy?
  • Village of the Damned (1960) (from the sci-fi novel The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham). Aliens impregnate every woman of child-bearing age in a small English town. Initial reactions range from joy (from a previously childless couple) to suspicion (from a husband who's been away at sea) to the incredulous reaction from a teenage virgin.
  • In the film Women in Trouble, porn starlet Elektra Luxx is told of her pregnancy by her doctor, and she responds by quoting this trope's name almost verbatim:
    Elektra Luxx: I can't be pregnant.
    Doctor: Are you a virgin?
    Elektra Luxx: No.
    Doctor: Then you can be pregnant.
  • Vamps: Stacy is initially astonished she's pregnant, as she hadn't known any female vampire could even conceive.

  • A woman comes to the doctor with her teenage daughter, who's complaining about an upset stomach. After the examination, the doc determines the girl is roughly four months pregnant. The women go berserk, claiming that it is completely impossible. After some failed attempts to explain, the doctor turns toward the window and starts looking out cautiously. "What's up, why are you ignoring us?" "Well, I once heard about a case like this. There was a falling star and three rich guys came with expensive gifts. And there's no way I'm gonna miss it!"

  • In one of Edward Rutherfurd's multi-generation historical novels, a young woman is told by her doctor that she can't have children, and reluctantly backs off on a budding relationship with a young man, believing he'll want kids more than he wants her. A third party informs the young man of this, so he tells her that he's sterile himself. Within a year of their marriage, they're expecting, because he was lying to sidestep her fear that he'd reject an infertile woman, and her doctor had bungled her diagnosis.
  • There is a Swedish short story in which a man who thinks he's sterile is in the habit of killing his girlfriends when they become pregnant because he can't handle the fact that they have apparently cheated on him. It isn't until after several murders that he finds out it's actually his twin brother who's sterile, not him.
  • In the Alien Nation Expanded Universe novel Cross of Blood, Tectonese Cathy Frankel turned out to be pregnant. This came as a shock to her human boyfriend Detective Matt Sikes because, among the Tectonese, pregnancy can only occur when the female is inseminated by a "third" gender or "catalyst." It is later discovered that, due to their genetic adaptability, a Human/Tectonese pairing can result in pregnancy. Unfortunately, Matt and Cathy's child was unable to survive after being born, due to her mixed genetics.
  • In Breaking Dawn Bella has this moment on realizing she had missed her period, considering her husband was a vampire and thus shouldn't have been able to impregnate her. (Let's leave aside the part where there are many other reasons besides his vampness that he shouldn't have been able to impregnate anyone.)
  • In the Deverry novels, Rhys' first wife is cast aside for being barren. Her mother-in-law arranges for her to remarry to a widower with several children from a previous marriage (and as such would not need to care as to whether or not his new wife could provide an heir). Shortly afterwards, she surprises everyone by getting pregnant and later gives birth to a healthy boy. It seems that she wasn't the sterile one in her previous marriage...
  • In Robert A. Heinlein's Friday, the titular protagonist is sterile by permanent (but reversible) surgery, and is therefore extremely surprised to discover that she's expecting during a long interstellar voyage. It turns out that her employers pulled a fast one on her, implanting the embryo she was supposed to deliver to a wealthy couple in her rather than keeping it in a stasis capsule. She concludes from this that they plan to kill her at the end of her mission, and decides to jump ship early. She ends up raising the child as her own.
  • John Varley's Gaea Trilogy:
    • In Titan, the female members of the spaceship crew all turn out to be pregnant after they're released into Gaea's interior. This trope especially applies to April Polo, a lesbian who's never had sex with a man.
    • Arguably subverted by the fact that — unlikely as these conceptions might be — none of the characters propose any alternative explanation for their failure to menstruate (e.g. wondering if they'd been sterilized rather than impregnated). There's little actual denial, just dismay.
    • Later in the series, the trope applies to both of Robin's pregnancies.
  • In the Honor Harrington series, like all female officers, Honor has a contraceptive implant that keeps her from getting pregnant while on duty in space. However, after her "return from the dead" following a faked execution, her closed service record is reactivated, and the date of her last implant renewal is accidentally reset to the reactivation date. As a result, her doctor does not renew the implant in time, and Honor becomes pregnant with Hamish Alexander's child.
  • In Heinrich von Kleist's 1808 novella, The Marquise of O, the titular Marquise finds herself mysteriously pregnant and places an announcement in the newspaper demanding the unknown father of her child identify himself so she can marry him. It turns out the father is a Russian count who ravished her while she was unconscious. They do indeed marry and eventually come to have a happy marriage.
  • In Monsieur Malaussène by Daniel Pennac, a nun whose chastity is beyond doubt becomes pregnant. There are a number of pregnancies in this novel; this being Pennac, they're not straightforward.
  • In the seventh Night World book, Huntress, Uncle Bracken tells Jez that it came as a complete shock to her parents when her mother became pregnant with Jez, as they had no idea lamia could conceive with humans.
  • The Parasol Protectorate: Alexia was a virgin before marriage and faithful to her confirmed-sterile husband after marriage, so justifiably freaks when told she's pregnant. Lord Maccon is sterile because he's a werewolf ... but Alexia is a preternatural, able to negate supernatural nature by touch. In other words, she's been turning her husband mortal every time they have sex, allowing him to impregnate her.
  • Janette Oke's Prairie Romance series, starting with Love Comes Softly, develops a huge clan of children under the care and guidance of main character Marty and her husband Clark. Several books down the line, after Oke had "officially" finished the series, the series starts back up with Marty realizing that she is again pregnant... and thinking it beyond embarrassing that her daughter will be younger than several of her grandchildren.
  • In Jacqueline Carrey's Santa Olivia, a genetically modified man overhears scientists discussing his apparent sterility. After he escapes, he meets a woman and they have sex. Lo and behold...she gets pregnant with his daughter.
  • In The Secret Lemonade Drinker, the central male character is wrongly diagnosed as sterile by his doctor, and both he and his wife have extra-marital affairs. When the husband's girlfriend becomes pregnant, he realises that the doctor made a mistake, by which time the wife is also pregnant by her boyfriend.
  • In The Time Traveler's Wife Clare gets pregnant after Henry has a vasectomy, by having sex with an early version of Henry who traveled from before his surgery.
  • Dragonesses in The Heartstrikers aren't supposed to be pregnant until they hit a hundred, and even then it takes a mating flight in dragon form. Chelsie still managed to get pregnant at age twenty, even though both she and her lover were in human form at all times. She ascribes this to the legendary Heartstriker fertility and the hazards of having sex with a reality warper who wants children despite knowing it's a bad idea.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Subverted in The Golden Girls, where Blanche's suspected pregnancy turns out to be menopause.
    • So did Kitty from That '70s Show.
    • Same with Helen Rosenthal on St. Elsewhere
    • This version was inverted on Dharma & Greg when Abby (mother of an adult daughter) thought she was entering menopause and turned out to be pregnant.
    • The same inversion (what was thought to be menopause turns out to be pregnancy) appears in Father Of The Bride 2.
    • Murphy Brown does it both ways: she thinks her pregnancy is menopause, then when she does go through menopause she thinks she's pregnant.
    • An episode of Sisters had oldest sister Alex thinking she was pregnant because her period was late and that "the last time that happened, we named her (her daughter) Reed!" Of course, it turned out to be menopause.
    • On Life Goes On, Libby believed she was experiencing symptoms of early menopause, only to find she was pregnant — and very worried, as she already had a Down's Syndrome child and knew this and her advanced age made it likely that she'd have another (she didn't).
  • Soap opera examples:
    • All My Children's Opal Gardner (who'd already had three adult children) found herself pregnant (after, of course, thinking she was starting menopause) by new husband (and resident Scrooge) Palmer Cortlandt. Palmer immediately accused her of infidelity because he'd been rendered sterile years ago "by a polo accident." Medical tests later proved that his plumbing still worked.
    • In Days of Our Lives, the character Nicole was shot and told that she would never be able to have children due to internal scarring. Lo and behold, a few years later Nicole is impregnated by EJ. Which then turned into a Convenient Miscarriage
      • A few years later, Nicole would go on to again become pregnant by EJ, which she considered a "miracle" due to the established unlikelihood that she could get pregnant. But this baby, a boy, was stillborn.
      • Chloe was also told that it was very unlikely she could ever have children, due to the combined effects of surviving leukemia and severe poisoning. Then, after surviving a plunge in an elevator, she was found to not only be basically unharmed but also pregnant.
    • Also with the now deceased Courtney on General Hospital. She became pregnant with Nikolas Cassadine's child miraculously after being rendered barren after a miscarriage with Jason Morgan's child, because of fuzzy medical reasons. It was the same story with Skye Quartermaine, but somehow she managed to conceive and birth a child with Lorenzo Alcazar.
  • The Aliens: Antoine tells Lewis his mother and he didn't think Lewis could be his son, as he comes from another species. When she got pregnant, the couple assumed it was by her husband at first.
  • On Angel, Connor, the human offspring of a fling between the vampires Angel and Darla. Vampires were canonically stated to be infertile. Darla apparently responds by going on a world tour searching for someone who can tell her what's going on and/or kill the mystically protected child, leaving corpses in her disappointed wake.
  • Another Life (2019): August is incredulous to find out she's pregnant, because the crew had been told they were all sterile from radiation exposure. However, it appears that isn't the case for her and one of her partners.
  • Delenn's pregnancy in Babylon 5 was thought to be impossible, due to her hybrid biology. Word of God states that Sheridan was aware a child was possible, but wasn't sure if the future had been changed and — if it had been changed — if the circumstances that led to the child were still possible. Time travel is tricky that way.
  • Played with in Becker. After performing a fertility test on a male patient, Becker tells his (female) employee that "Your sperm count is higher than his!" Said patient's wife ends up pregnant anyway.
    Becker: You know what this means...
    Patient:'s a miracle!
    Becker: Sure, Let's Go with That.
  • Call the Midwife combines this with Surprise Pregnancy for 46-year-old Iris Willens, who thinks she's already been through menopause, hasn't been pregnant in 22 years, and mistakes her labor for kidney stones.
    • Shelagh and Patrick were told that Shelagh was infertile due to complications from tuberculosis. She became a Good Stepmother to Patrick's son and the family later adopted a baby girl. Against the odds, Shelagh becomes pregnant. She's surprised and nervous, but also very happy.
  • Code Black: A young woman, the first of her family to got to college, presents with pregnancy symptoms. The mother reacts badly and accuses the doctor of being racist. Then when the test confirms the diagnosis, the mother is angry at the girl, who insists she is a virgin. It turns out that sometimes it is zebras. The girl has a rare brain tumor that produces the same protein that pregnancy tests look for. The girl wants to go back to being pregnant.
  • Coupling had a pregnancy scare storyline at the end of season 3-Sally is the one who believes she's at risk and asks the other girls to take a test as well as a control group. She then gets the tests mixed up, so when she finds out one of them is positive, she realizes it can be any of them. While they're waiting to go back and buy more tests, Susan reveals that she just found out she's infertile. Towards the end, Jane's test comes back negative, which results in Sally assuming it's her, and becoming deeply unhappy since it probably wrecks her chances with Patrick. And then Susan walks in with a positive test.
  • Defying Gravity has an astronaut candidate, Zoe, getting pregnant even though the father, Donner, had a vasectomy. She gets an abortion because she wanted to stay in the program and go to space. It's implied that the vasectomy didn't take because of Alpha.
  • Desperate Housewives:
    • Gabby has a miscarriage in the second season and her doctor says she is unable to bear children any longer. By the fifth season, however, thanks to the Time Skip, she has two young daughters. (The "But I can't be pregnant" scene is later shown in a flashback, complete with Gabby slapping the doctor).
    • Before the Time Skip, Susan discovers she's pregnant, after initially confusing it for menopause like many examples.
  • On Doc Martin a patient told Martin she couldn't be pregnant and he started staring out the window, when she asked why he said, "The last time this happened there were 3 wise men and a shining star".
  • Cora of Downton Abbey gets unexpectedly pregnant despite being far enough into menopause that her periods are irregular: "But I haven't been pregnant in eighteen years!"
  • Sharon Watts in EastEnders believed herself to be infertile after a botched abortion for years until she conceived a baby with her adoptive brother/husband Dennis, who was murdered a couple of episodes later.
  • On Extant, Molly reacts incredulously to the news of her pregnancy, not only because she'd been deemed completely infertile, but she was alone in space during when conception would have occurred.
  • In FlashForward, Janis sees in her flash-forward that she is pregnant. She can't believe this as she is a lesbian. Eventually, she does become pregnant by having sex with Demetri.
  • Friday Night Lights: Eric and Tammy Taylor are in their early 40s. Their only child, Julie, is half-way through high school. They're looking forward to having the house to themselves when she goes off to college in a couple of years. Then Tammy realizes she's pregnant. They're both very surprised having assumed Tammy was pre-menopausal.
  • Friends: Ross was once described as a "medical marvel", as his parents' doctor had believed his mother was infertile prior to her pregnancy. This is also why Monica is The Unfavorite to her parents — Ross was their miracle baby, while Monica was just another kid.
  • Gilmore Girls did the same thing with Sookie and Jackson when they wrote in Melissa McCarthy's pregnancy despite having an episode two seasons earlier where Jackson had a vasectomy that he didn't want. They retconned it by having Jackson say he lied about getting it since he hadn't wanted it in the first place, and that he thought Sookie would stay on her birth control pills to keep her skin looking fresh.
  • Grimm: After Adalind tricks Nick into sleeping with her in order to strip him of his Grimm powers, she is shocked and appalled to discover that she's pregnant with his baby. This happens almost immediately after she spent most of the previous season pregnant with her firstborn Diana. However, it is a Written-In Infirmity as the actress Claire Coffee was now pregnant in real life. The arc then centered around the two archenemies having to put their differences aside to keep their potentially superpowered half-grimm/ half hexenbeist baby safe.
  • House:
    • House confronts a complaining teenage girl on an airplane:
      House: You're pregnant.
      Girl: But I can't —
      House: Are you a virgin?
      Girl: No.
      House: You're pregnant.
    • Played with in "Joy to the World", where a woman is pregnant even though she and her fiancé are waiting till marriage, and she swears she hasn't cheated. A skeptical House runs a DNA test and returns dumbfounded to tell them that there actually is no father, and the woman is the first ever case of human parthenogenesis, an incredible phenomenon... except she's not, she just cheated on her fiancé, and he's lying so that they'll be bowled over with elation and gratitude and get him a Christmas present, which he bet Wilson he could get a patient to do.
    • An episode includes a woman who is pregnant but claimed she couldn't have been pregnant as she hadn't had sex in over a year. Turns out she'd unknowingly been sleepwalking and having sex with her ex who lived in the same apartment building.
  • Jane the Virgin: Jane, a virgin, is rather predictably surprised when she learns she's pregnant after her gynecologist got her and another patient – who wanted to get pregnant – mixed up before performing procedures.
  • Jin and Sun in Lost. Jin was sterile before he came to the island, which causes Sun to believe the baby was conceived during her extramarital affair before the plane crash. However, Juliet explains that male sperm count is five times normal on the island, and a sonogram shows that the baby was indeed conceived on the island. It's a particularly heartbreaking example, as pregnant women tend not to survive their pregnancy on the island-if the baby was conceived before Sun came to the island, she's fine, and if the baby is miraculously her husband's and conceived after their island-inspired reconciliation, she's going to die. She's very happy with the result.
  • Legends of Tomorrow: Sara gets pregnant by her girlfriend Ava. Justified in that Sara's consciousness has been transferred to an alien replica of her body which works differently than normal; specifically, kissing while thinking of pregnancy is enough to induce pregnancy.
  • In season 4 of Lucifer Linda is very surprised to learn that she's pregnant as a result of her relationship with the angel Amenadiel because nobody thought it was possible for Celestials to procreate with humans. She comes around to the idea of impending motherhood pretty quickly but does worry that her child will be born with angel wings.
  • The L Word:
    • Kit, who's going through menopause, got pregnant by acccident anyway. She's incredulous and used multiple tests to be sure.
    • Max gets pregnant with Tom the interpreter's baby, and didn't think this could be possible after taking so many male hormones.
  • Married... with Children subverted this when a deceased relative's will stipulates that any family member that conceives a new child will get a $500,000 inheritance. Al and Peg naturally go for it, but Peg doesn't want to get pregnant. She's just happy that Al wants to have sex with her for once, so she secretly takes birth control so they'll keep trying. Al finds out eventually and gets his revenge by faking Peg's home pregnancy test for a positive result. Peg goes into this mode, but Al twists the knife further by saying another relative beat them to the inheritance and reminds her of everything she went through with Kelly and Bud (morning sickness, weight gain, and diaper changes). Peg effectively Goes Mad from the Revelation, while Al is gleeful.
  • Maude in Maude became unexpectedly pregnant at 47 while taking birth control, and later had the very first sitcom abortion.
  • Comes up every now and again when Maury does paternity tests — a man who has been declared infertile/had a vasectomy will demand a paternity test on his girlfriend/wife's child, for obvious reasons. A surprisingly large percentage turn out to be the child's father after all.
    • A ridiculous example was this teenage girl who brought this guy onto the Sally Jesse Raphael show because she was convinced he was the father because apparently, he was the only guy she'd slept with. He was relieved when it turned out not to be his child, but she was still really confused. Turns out that she'd been regularly sleeping with her step-brother, and she was under the impression that she couldn't get pregnant by him. He was the father, of course.
  • Charlotte Ross' real-life pregnancy was written into the 11th season of NYPD Blue, despite her character having been established as infertile due to complications from a teen pregnancy. This was a rather mild retcon, revealed as her doctors telling her it would be almost impossible for her to get pregnant.
  • The Outpost: Wren gets pregnant in Season 4 from Janzo, surprising her as it wasn't even certain if any Humans and Blackbloods could reproduce, so she's naturally incredulous.
  • In Red Dwarf Lister sees his future self with twin babies. The question is raised of how this could be possible without a woman on board, and he says it will be fun finding out. It is certainly fun, but not for him - to Rimmer's delight, Lister gets pregnant by his parallel universe self and has to give birth to the twins, conveniently between series 2 and 3.
  • In the NBC show Scrubs, Dr. Cox's ex-wife, Jordan, became pregnant (as she was pregnant in real life). Since Dr. Cox had previously gotten a vasectomy, they addressed this - Dr. Cox asked if Jordan cheated on him shortly after she tested pregnant, and later when they told the rest of the staff about her pregnancy, he does a rant where he mentions his vasectomy didn't take. He and Jordan later get revenge on the doctor who performed it.
    The Worthless Peons: I want my baby-back (baby-back) baby-back (baby-back) baby-back (baby-back) baby-back, I want my baby-back (baby-back)...
    Doctor: Dear God. When do they say "ribs"?
    Dr. Cox: Never. They never say "ribs".
  • Smallville: Jonathan had this reaction when Martha, who was established as being infertile, was in a coma and the doctor told him she was pregnant. Apparently her infertility was cured by being in the presence of Clark's spaceship when it was activated.
  • Claudia Black, who played Vala Mal Doran on Stargate SG-1, got pregnant with her first child shortly into filming for the ninth season. She was reportedly worried about being taken off the show or ruining the plot.. fortunately the creators were already planning a storyline involving her being pregnant. As a result, Vala ended up lost in the Ori's home galaxy for much of Season 9, and when she came back in the last few episodes, was revealed to be pregnant with a child conceived by the Ori so as to get around the rules barring them from interfering with an Ancient-protected galaxy. When Vala is finally able to communicate with the SGC, she is completely confused as to how she could be pregnant since, as she put it, "I did none of the necessary bits."
  • Star Trek: Enterprise Commander Tucker (male!) becomes pregnant after discovering that the concepts of male and female are not universal, and he didn't know that what he was doing with an alien he thought was female was sex.
  • Star Trek: Voyager. Half-Human Hybrid B'Elanna Torres is surprised when this happens with her human boyfriend Tom Paris, as the odds against a Klingon woman and a human man having children naturally is so highnote  (why she hadn't considered that being half-human might make you more interfertile with a human partner is left unsaid). The actress playing B'Elanna had become pregnant several years earlier, which was hidden by having her Wrench Wench character wear a work smock with tools in the top pocket.
  • In Sugar Rush, Kim's mother Stella becomes pregnant after getting back together with Nathan, even though in the first series she told her lover that he had had a vasectomy.
  • Tidelands (Netflix): Violca gets pregnant by Colton, to her surprise since Adrielle told her hybrids like them were all infertile.
  • Season two of Too Close for Comfort focused on Muriel's pregnancy, Henry and Muriel having been established as in their late 40s/early 50s, with two adult children already.
  • Trigonometry: Gemma had been told she can't get pregnant due to being injured in a car accident. She had unprotected sex with Kieran throughout their relationship but it never happened, seeming to confirm this. Then she gets pregnant despite what she'd been told, and Gemma can't believe it, but really is.
  • In The Vampire Diaries, Klaus finds out that Hayley is pregnant after their one-night stand. Although vampires are established to be infertile, it turns that he's not because he's part werewolf.
  • A different take on it occurred in Xena: Warrior Princess when Xena was rather shocked to be pregnant - she hadn't had sex in ages.
  • Scully in The X-Files got pregnant about four seasons after being diagnosed as infertile. Interestingly, the actress' real-life pregnancy had taken place and been somewhat clumsily covered with big coats, sitting at desks, etc. about two years before the character was supposedly rendered infertile.
  • Parodied on The Young Ones, where Vyvyan — who is male — announces he's pregnant:
    Neil: But that's impossible!
    Vyvyan: Yeah, that's what she said! You just can't trust women, can you?

    Religion & Mythology 
  • Examples from The Bible:
    • Sarah, already ninety, laughed when the messengers told her hundred-year-old husband Abraham about the prophecy of her pregnancy. Sure enough, they had a son, Isaac, whose name means "laughter."
    • In 2nd Kings, a Shunnamite woman who offers hospitality to Elisha the prophet tells him that she can't get pregnant, and her husband is old. Elisha tells the woman that in a year she will have a child to bear. She tells him, “No, my lord, man of God, do not lie to your servant.” But true to his word, God gives the woman a child to bear within that year.
    • Subverted with the Virgin Mary in the synoptic Gospels, since she knew beforehand that she'd be the mother of Christ, though that's because she thought to ask about it. When she got first got the news from the Archangel Gabriel, she replied, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?" Gabriel explained that God is The Omnipotent. But Joseph quite understandably suspected her of infidelity until an angel appeared to him personally to set him straight. Her apparently dubious story is that she is pregnant, "having known no man."
    • There's the infertility example with Elizabeth and Zechariah, parents of John the Baptist. (And like the aforementioned Abraham and Sarah, they were pretty old.) Here it was the priest Zechariah who uttered the "but that's impossible" line and got struck dumb until the child was born for expressing his doubts that God could do such a thing. (Considering his profession, he might have known better.)

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the Vampire: The Masquerade supplement Time of Thin Blood, it's revealed that fifteenth-generation vampires can accidentally or intentionally reactivate various bodily functions temporarily— including the reproductive system, enabling them to produce offspring with humans.
    • The Werewolf: The Apocalypse adventure Rage Across the Heavens largely revolves around a werewolf cub born of two supposedly infertile Metis werewolves (the parents are both offspring of two werewolves, rather than one werewolf and either a human or a wolf).
    • Normally, Prometheans are infertile until they finally become human, but one very rare possibility is that they manage to have a baby of their own, whether with a human or another Promethean. The kids turn out both mortal and normal... except that they can sense Azoth and are completely immune to Disquiet.
    • Changeling: The Lost: Fetches are infertile as well, being magical constructs. Under certain exceptional circumstances, however, they may produce offspring. Fifty percent chance it's a nightmarish thing of evil, fifty percent chance it's mostly normal but with some sort of mental disorder and with blood that poisons the True Fae.
  • In Exalted demons who normally procreate asexually tend to be in for a chock after copulating with human Exalted.

    Video Games 
  • Played with in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, when Rose tells Jack she's pregnant but it's part of a surreal sequence of events where you can't trust anything that's happening. Also, it's possible she can't be pregnant because she might not actually exist. It turns out she is, and, obviously, she does, but the whole of Metal Gear Solid 2 was such a Mind Screw that it takes until the fourth game for any of this to be clear.
  • Inverted for Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana: a Non-Player Character is actually pregnant, but there's little Foreshadowing about her pregnancy aside from her looking under the wind most of the time before a certain point in the game, wherein she will collapse from exhaustion while managing a shop at Castaway Village. Hand Waved by The Medic, who states the mother-to-be wasn't visibly showing signs of being pregnant.

  • TwoKinds: Eventually confirmed after nearly four years of hints: As an apparent result of divine intervention, feline Keidrian Flora is pregnant with human Trace's child. Though it's later implied that the real Deus Ex Machina was the lack of such hybrid pregnancies up to now (i.e. Ephemural allowed Flora's pregnancy rather than stopping it).note 
  • Hatsuki reacting thusly in Moon Over June is quite understandable given that she does not have sex with men in either her personal or professional life. However when one's... costars... do not clean themselves up/off/out well enough between scenes then such things can happen. As it was revealed many years later, it was actually Summer who didn't clean herself well enough after artifically inseminating herself, as DNA testing proved Moon and June have the same biological father. Which, incidentally, Moon and June themselves predicted.
  • Gene Catlow: This is Cotton's reaction when Tatavania tells him she's pregnant. They had never (physically) made love. Cotton's shock lasts all of five seconds, as they both figure their bond via Sight Of The Soul is so powerful, their spiritual humping spilled over into the physical world.
  • In Educomix, Jessica gets pregnant by eating a slice of toast that used to be a child.

    Web Original 
  • Paradise: In "Reverberations," a story in this setting, a gender-bent character's unexpected pregnancy causes the Masquerade concealing her new gender from friends and family members to fail.
  • Happens a couple of times in Chakona Space due to meddlesome Rakshani fertility deities.
  • Anna Akana's PREGNAPOCALYPSE begins with Anna and her friends panicking over suddenly developing baby bumps without having sex beforehand. They soon discover that this happened to every female in the world, regardless of age or species. Things go From Bad to Worse after Anna gives birth to a baby alien, which gobbles her up when she tries to touch it.

    Western Animation 
  • Inverted in South Park, where Ms. Garrison assumes that not having a period after having a lot of random, unprotected sex with random men has made her pregnant (she becomes excited because now she can have an abortion). The doctor informs her that as a transsexual, she lacks both a uterus and eggs and therefore is not physically capable of getting pregnant. Ms. Garrison claims the doctor is a bigot.
  • The final episode of Hanna-Barbera's 1970 primetime series Where's Huddles? had a doctor's diagnosis making everyone think that Bubba — a male, mind you — was pregnant.


Video Example(s):



Jane and Xiomara can't believe that Jane is pregnant because she's a virgin.

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Main / ButICantBePregnant

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