British teenager Jacqui Beck was in total shock when she discovered that she had been born without a vagina, the result of Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome.
During a regular visit to the doctor, the 17-year-old mentioned that she had yet to start menstruating. After a series of tests, the doctor concluded that MRKH syndrome had prevented her body from developing a vagina, womb or cervix.
“I left the doctor’s in tears,” Beck said. “All the things I had imagined doing suddenly got erased from my future.”
It was as if she wasn’t a real woman anymore, Beck added.
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The now 19-year-old has finally taken ownership of the syndrome, and said that it’s a useful tool in finding “the one.”
“I want to be upfront with any men I meet and tell them straight away about my condition,” Beck said. “If they run at the mention of MRKH then I don’t want to be intimate with them.”
The genetic syndrome affects one in every 4,500 girls and often shows up in families with no history of it.
The external genitalia appear normal and women with the syndrome usually experience puberty regularly. Because MRKH gives the appearance of a healthy woman, the syndrome is not often detected until someone with it tries to have sex or doesn’t have a period by age 16.
Though the condition has no cure, a dilation or surgery can help create a vaginal canal. Eggs can also be removed and fertilized for use in surrogacy.