Jucilene Marinho was just 15 when she received the startling news that doctors couldn’t find her vagina. In fact, an examination revealed that Jucilene was missing her uterus, cervix, ovaries, and lacked a vaginal canal, with nothing but a small amount of connective tissue instead of a full vagina. As bizarre as it sounds, Jucilene Marinho suffered from Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome, a rare condition that causes young girls to be born missing parts of their reproductive system. In Jucilene’s case, it was meant the rare absence of pretty much everything that should have been there.
“I cried a lot when I found out. I thought my world had ended,” Jucilene said, revealing how devastating the news was. “I'd always dreamed of having a baby of my own now I had to accept that wouldn't be possible.”
Now, at 23 Jucilene has undergone her a world’s first and received a new vaginal canal crafted and implanted into her body. The remarkable surgery involves the use of skin from the tilapia, which is a fish common to many Brazilian rivers, to craft a biologically compatible canal so that Jucilene can engage in sexual intercourse.
Woman born without a vagina has one created using FISH SKIN – and finally has sex for the first time at 23 https://t.co/CZIDJQqAgs— The Sun (@TheSun) May 31, 2018
If you’re wondering how on Earth this works then we can’t blame you, because we did the exact same thing. But basically scientists strip the fish skin of all its fishy aspects—including the scales, any germs, viruses, and of course, the smell—and are left with a kind of organic gel. They then mould the gel into the shape of a vaginal canal and implanted it into Jucilene where her body took over. Because the organic gel doesn’t prompt an immune response it remains safe inside her body, and soon blood vessels begin to grow into the gel.
Over time, it will essentially act as a scaffolding so that Jucilene’s body can use the gel to create a vaginal canal complete with blood vessels and nerve endings.
This remarkable surgery means that Jucilene has been able to have sex with her boyfriend for the first time in her entire life, and she says it all works pretty well down there:
“It was a wonderful moment because everything worked perfectly. There was no pain just a great deal of pleasure and satisfaction.
“At first I was very scared to do it because I thought it would hurt and I was worried it might damage the opening. I didn't feel any discomfort and there was no bleeding.
“Everything felt sensitive in what I'm told is the right and normal way. It was perfectly natural like the opening had always been there. It felt so good to have something the majority of women take for granted.”
So there we have it! A woman was born without a vagina, and doctors made a new one from a fish. Science is… pretty f*cking weird, but also awesome.