How This Woman Born With No Vagina Is Having Biological Kids

Photographed by Tayler Smith.
Reproductive medicine and technology has given couples dealing with infertility more options than ever. And currently, a Georgia woman who was born with no vagina or cervix due to Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome is taking advantage of one in particular — in vitro fertilization — to have biological kids. Thanks to a skin graft — skin transplanted from another part of the body — Devan Merck has an artificial vagina that lets her have vaginal sex, Yahoo! reports. Sometimes, people with MRKH get other kinds of surgery or dilation to create a vaginal opening. Still, these procedures don't make it possible for someone with MRKH to get pregnant. So Merck is aiming to have a biological child via a surrogate. A GoFundMe page is raising money for her and her husband Trent to start a family. Because their insurance won't cover the bulk of the cost of IVF and surrogacy, they'll be paying out of pocket. And after raising $7,000, they're well on their way to reaching their $20,000 goal. MRKH can cause people to be born with an incomplete vagina or uterus, or none at all, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. It can also lead to abnormal kidney development, skeletal problems, and other complications. The cause of the condition is not understood, and it rarely runs in families. Around one in 4,500 girls are born with MRKH, and typically, it's identified when people don't start their periods by the time they're 16. Fortunately, these days, people with the syndrome can still be parents — even to kids who share their genes. "I strongly believe that with the help of our loving family and friends," Merck wrote on her GoFundMe page, "we can one day have a baby of our own."

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