Becoming a mum without an uterus
A girl born with the Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuester-Hauser-Syndrome has an underdeveloped – in some cases even non-existent – vagina and despite in most cases having normal functioning ovaries women suffering from this condition are not able to have vaginal intercourse and are infertile.
One out of 5,000 girls is born with the MRKH-syndrome, which is caused by an inhibiting malformation of the Müllerian ducts during the second month of pregnancy. What is triggering this exactly is still unknown and is being researched. Prof. Michael K. Hohl and his team from the Kantonspital Baden in Switzerland have a lot of experience in helping women who suffer from this condition.
Now Prof. Hohl and his colleague Dr. Gerfried Teufelberger and for the first time together with the IVF Spain Alicante team, performed surgery on a young patient suffering from MRKH-syndrome in order to preserve her fertility. This procedure will allow her to have own biological children with the help of an egg retrieval and a surrogate mother. Dr. Jon Aizpurua, founder of the IVF Spain Alicante fertility clinic and Dr. Sergio Rogel, national medical director, are very pleased with the outcome of the procedure. From now on, women with MRKH-syndrome will be able to undergo treatment by the experts in collaboration with IVF Spain Alicante.
Premiere at IVF Spain
‘It is the first time this kind of procedure has been carried out at IVF Spain and probably even nationwide’ says Dr. Rogel. The 21-year-old patient, a young spanish woman, underwent a neovaginal reconstruction by means of minimal-invasive surgery. To do so, a part of the large intestine, the sigma, was surgically connected to the underdeveloped vaginal opening. It takes up to six weeks for the reconstructed neovagina to have a completely normal appearance and heal – after this 6-week-period, sexual intercourse is possible. A second minimal-invasive surgery will then allow the patient to eventually have children of her own. ‘Now we will be able to retrieve the eggs by means of standard vaginal puncture instead by means of laparoscopy or abdominal puncture’ claims Dr. Rogel.
Obstacles on the way to motherhood
The patient is still young and has still some time before wanting to form a family, says Dr. Sergio Rogel. But in a few years, we would be more than happy to fulfill her dream. IVF Spain Alicante offers in terms of treatment, egg collection, fertilization and embryo selection the best conditions for a successful IVF treatment.
There is also the possibility to freeze your eggs (social freezing), if you are looking forward to postpone motherhood. “Up to this date, it is still medically almost impossible for the patient to conceive a child herself, Dr. Rogel explains. “The patient has no uterus, and only few cases have been registered in which patients that underwent an uterus transplant achieved a successful pregnancy“.
In 2014, and for the first time, a Swedish woman with MRKH-syndrome gave birth to a baby that developed in a transplanted uterus, although it was a premature birth most likely due to the intake of immunosupressives – which all patients that underwent transplant surgery need. There is still a long way ahead until this procedure may become accessible and safe for a larger group of MRKH-syndrome patients and the uterus donors.
Dr. Rogel and the entire IVF Spain team are experts in reproductive medicine and specialised in fertility treatments: ‘As in a classic IVF treatment, by stimulating the ovaries with the FSH hormone we are able to stimulate the ovaries and hence preserve the patients’ fertility’ he emphasizes. ‘At this point we are able to perform a vaginal puncture, which is much easier for the patient than before undergoing this reconstructional surgery’ The patient has now the possibility to become a mom using her own eggs and with the help of surrogacy. However, surrogacy is currently not permitted in Spain, Germany, Switzerland or Austria.
Dr. Sergio Rogel and the whole IVF Spain team are excited about the outcome of this surgery and they would be very glad to help other girls and women with this disease – in cooperation with Prof. Dr. med. Hollow and Dr. Teufelberger – to be able to feel again like a complete woman and to fulfill their dream of becoming a mom.