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Are You a Candidate for a Lab-Grown Vagina?

By HERWriter
 
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lab-engineered vaginas work: groundbreaking technology MonkeyBusiness Images/PhotoSpin

Doctors have used groundbreaking technology to grow lab-engineered vaginas. The artificial vaginas were made of human cells and degradable tissue. And the best part? Once implanted in four patients, they functioned normally.

Carrying out this innovative stride forward was a research team led by Anthony Atala, M.D., director of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center's Institute for Regenerative Medicine in North Carolina. Atlantida-Raya Rivera is director of the HIMFG Tissue Engineering Laboratory and his team of surgeons, at the Federico Gomez Children’s Hospital located in Mexico City, Mexico.

Between June 2005 and October 2008, four teenage girls ages 13 to18 who had Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser Syndrome (MRKHS) were the team’s trial recipients of these lab-engineered vaginas.

MRKHS, which affects about 1 in 5,000 women, leaves them with either an underdeveloped or completely missing vagina and uterus. It lessens the chances for pregnancy and also affects other parts of the body.

Scientists began construction of the organs by scanning the pelvic region to design a tube-like 3D-scaffold which is biodegradable, for each patient.

Then they took samples of the patients’ own muscles and cells in the form of biopsies from their external genitals.

After the extracted cells expanded enough, they were placed on the biodegradable scaffold that was hand-sewn into a vagina-like shape. The scaffold was customized for each patient. Muscle cells were attached to the outside of the scaffold and vaginal-lining cells were attached to the inside.

Roughly five to six weeks after the biopsies, surgeons created a canal in the patients’ pelvis where they implanted the scaffolding and attached it to reproductive structures.

The scaffolding degraded in the months following the surgery, leaving just the tissue. That tissue grew, forming the muscle and epithelial cells that make up the vaginal wall.

Follow-up tests showed that the scaffolding tissue had meshed so seamlessly with the native tissue that the break was indistinguishable. Each patient emerged from the implantation with normally-functioning organs.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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