Six years ago, Ramani’s (name changed) worried mother took her to a doctor when she hadn’t started menstruating at 18. She was diagnosed with a rare reproductive disorder, owing to which she was born without a uterus.
Over the years, though, Ramani got used to living with the Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome, as patients of the disorder otherwise go through all the typical developments associated with puberty.
The gravity of her condition only hit home earlier this year, when the MNC executive decided to explore the realm of physical intimacy with her boyfriend, but couldn’t.
MRKH, named after the four scientists who discovered it, affects only one in every 5,000 women and is characterised by the failure of the Müllerian duct to develop. The consequences are a missing uterus and variable malformations of the upper portion of the vagina. In some cases, women are born without a vagina at all.
Worried, she visited a doctor, and saw her whole world come crashing down as the diagnosis of six years ago returned to haunt her.
“When my boyfriend and I first attempted to have sex, I felt severe pain. I visited a doctor, and found out that the pain was a result of MRKH. I was told I can neither have sex nor become pregnant,” Ramani said.
Ramani’s doctor Dr Nikita Trehan, a consultant gynaecologist and laparoscopic surgeon at Delhi’s Sunrise Hospital, added that the knowledge of the full implications of her condition had left Ramani depressed as she saw her dreams of marrying her boyfriend shatter around her.
Thankfully, though, the doctors had a plan. “We decided to construct a neovagina for her through laparoscopy, without using screws and plates,” Dr Trehan added.
Generally, patients of the MRKH syndrome undergo a procedure called vaginoplasty that helps create a (neo)vagina. Post-surgery, patients have to use vaginal dilators for three to four months.
In another procedure, involving laparoscopy, the girl has to have a plate and screws planted in her abdomen for one month.
“We managed to reconstruct the vagina in just two hours without the use of screws and plates,” Dr Trehan explained. “She required a day’s stay in the hospital.”
The doctor added: “Her recovery has been rapid, and she will be able to have intercourse within two weeks.”
Thankfully for Ramani her ovaries are intact, meaning she can still have children through surrogacy.