Last updated on Jun 23rd, 2021 at 12:44 pm

Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome is a rare birth defect where female children are born without vaginas

Scientists have found a way to use girls and women’s own tissue to grow and produce vaginas for them in a lab.

A study conducted on 40 women with MRKH found that the lab produced vaginas could be the best solution for women with MRKH seeking vagina implants. 

Four teenaged girls who were the first recipients of this cutting edge procedure now have fully developed vaginas made specifically for them from their very own cells. 

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What is MRKH?

MRKH is a rare condition in which a female child’s reproductive system is underdeveloped. 

While the level of development varies, the women and girls who received lab-grown vagina transplants did not have a vaginal canal. 

Dr Anthony Atala, director of the Institute for Regenerative Medicine at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center lead a team of scientist in making and implanting the vaginas said there may be other ways in which women could have vaginas constructed however he believed constructing the organs from the women own tissue cells was the best way. 

The vaginas were hand-sewn

The reproductive organs were made to suit each recipient and customised to correspond to their size and height. 

Dr Atala explained the process of manufacturing the vaginas to NBC news, the cells were moulded around biodegradable scaffolding and hand-sewn as they matured. 

When the canals were matured they were implanted in the women where they will be functional. Theoretically, they could even allow the women to have biological children. 

Theoretically they could even allow the women to have biological children. 

Hope for women who need constructive and reconstructive surgery

While the technology has so far been used on women born without vaginas, it could be applied to women in need of reconstructive surgery. 

According to the Cleveland Clinic, women with certain types of cancer, vaginal prolapse and injuries could benefit from vaginal reconstructive surgery as well.

Speaking to Science Rehashed (a science podcast) Dr Atala shared that this tissue generating technology had been used to create a functional uterus in rabbits. Tests and studies indicate that this could lead to a breakthrough in reproductive health and fertility treatments and go a long way in assisting women with uterus related fertility issues conceive children.

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