For women with Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome, life can be difficult. Born with an absent or underdeveloped vagina, women suffering MRKH often have difficulty experiencing a normal sex life, can fail to menstruate and sometimes cannot reproduce naturally.
But now, researchers from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have found a way to normalize life for women with severe cases of MRKH: Using patients’ own cells, they have successfully grown vaginas in a laboratory setting and implanted them into four women.
“There are patients [with MRKH] that do have a vaginal organ that’s small and they can benefit from other things that are non-surgical, but for the ones who don’t have much of an organ at all, where it’s fully absent, this would be a choice for them,” Dr. Anthony Atala, director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, told FoxNews.com.
Atala, a pediatric urologic surgeon, said he and his team have been working on the development of laboratory-grown vaginas for about 25 years, figuring out how to properly harvest and grow vaginal cells, and then testing the procedure on mice.
In a new study published in the Lancet, Atala and his team detailed how they were able to successfully grow vaginal organs in a laboratory.
“What we do is we take a very small piece of tissue from the patient, less than half a size of postage stamp, from their rudimentary organ…,” Atala said.
Lol, 25 years. Nerds