Lab Grown Vagina Has Implications For Women's Sexual Health

Lab Grown Vagina Has Implications For Women's Sexual Health

The future is now.

Blood vessels, noses and ears have been successfully “grown” in labs, transplanted, and have remained viable.  One of the more unusual lab grown body parts are human vaginae and it’s having profound implications for women’s sexual health.

Researchers at Wake Forest University implanted the lab grown vaginae in four women between the ages of 13 and 18 between 2005 and 2008 who suffered from a rare genetic condition called Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser syndrome which causes 1 in 4,500 girls to be born with an underdeveloped or absent vagina. A few years later the researchers report that the patients are doing very well.

The way the procedure works is that a number of cells including epithelial cells that line body cavities, as well as muscle cells were biopsied from the women’s genital areas. Cells are grown and sown onto a biodegradable scaffold tailored made for each woman. A channel is then created in the women’s pelvic region and the new vagina sewn into place.

Gradually, the biodegradable scaffolding disappears and the women’s nerves and blood vessels slowly expand into the new vagina.  In the fullness of time the vagina is indistinguishable from the women’s surrounding tissues.

Now, years later, the women who have been subjected to the vaginal transplant are able to experience sexual desire, have pain free sex, and even achieve orgasm. The procedure will not give women the ability to conceive and bear children, but the fact that a structurally complex muscle as the vagina can be created and transplanted paves the way for more complicated structures, like a uterus.

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[The Verge]

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