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About Growing Vaginas and Implants

Updated on August 10, 2014
A Vagina-like Scaffold
A Vagina-like Scaffold
One patient
One patient
Dr. Atala
Dr. Atala

It all started when, over time, four teens, ages 13- 18, were growing normally except with underdeveloped vaginas and uteruses caused by a rare genetic condition in the UK. The four girls, all from Mexico, were born with MRKHS.

From there, using body scans of each girl's pelvis areas built a biodegradable-like scaffold custom fitted for each girl. Then, using cells from each of the girl's body, grew the cells in a lab. Over time, the muscle cells grew outside of the scaffold, while other cells grew on the inside. Once the organ was fully grown, it was surgically inserted. These were implants between 2005-8. Within six months of the scaffolded vagina was inserted, it degraded forming a natural one. The whole process took eight years.

According to the now grown women, they all have normal vaginas and fully functional with normal levels of sexual desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm and satisfaction. The women experience normal intercourse. Two of them can menstruate. In theory, they should be able to have children.

Between 1 in 1,500 and 1 in 4,000 females are born with MRKHS and exams typically show that the girls and young women have vaginas that are underdeveloped or completely missing at puberty. Dr.Atala states that about 1250 girls could benefit from this treatment, which is like "making a cake" as a new vagina is grown and then implanted. Since the implant is composed of the patient's own cells, complications and rejection are almost nil.

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