An article recently published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, tells the story of a 15-year-old girl living in the African nation of Lesotho who appeared to be pregnant, but did not have a vagina.
Doctors wrote: "Inspection of the vulva showed no vagina, only a shallow skin dimple." They eventually delivered a healthy baby boy via cesarean.
The teen's defect, Müllerian agenesis or Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser Syndrome, didn't surprise doctors, but her pregnancy did.
After looking at her records, the hospital staff realized the teen was in the hospital 278 days earlier with a knife wound to her stomach; the average pregnancy lasts 280 days.
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They eventually learned that just before she was stabbed in the abdomen, she had practiced oral sex with her new boyfriend and was caught in the act by her former lover. A fight with knives ensued. Apparently, sperm entered her through a knife wound.
The girl arrived at the hospital with an empty stomach and doctors found two holes from a stab wound that opened her stomach up to her abdominal area. "A plausible explanation for this pregnancy is that (sperm) gained access to the reproductive organs via the injured gastrointestinal tract," the authors wrote.
"Here's an unbelievable set of coincidences," said Dr. Richard Paulson Head of the University of Southern California Fertility Program in Los Angeles. "But it's totally plausible."
Once in the abdominal wall, Paulson estimated the sperm could survive for days: "It's a long way from the stomach into the lower abdomen, it's a heck of a trip, but they made it. You just need sperm somewhere in the area (of an egg)."
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Paulson said in the early days of fertility treatments in the 1980s, doctors injected sperm in the lower abdomen hoping for the coincidental encounter with an egg. The procedure, called DIPI or direct intraperitoneal insemination, has been replaced with more effective methods today.
"This story is a crazy story and there's no way to make sense of it," said Dr. Sherman J. Silber, director of the Infertility Center of Saint Louis at St. Luke's Hospital in Missouri. "But the data on sperm is that normally it's quite good in an alkaline environment for two or three days, in fact that's why the average couple wastes a lot of energy when they're trying to get pregnant."
"The average American married couple tends to have sex two or three days a week," added Silber, author of 'How to Get Pregnant.'
If sperm can survive for two or three days, that means the average sex life of an American married couple results in living sperm swimming around the woman's body every single day of the week.
"The practice to check when you ovulate and not to have sex until you're ovulating is stupid," Silber said.