A woman born without a vagina has become the first in the world to undergo reconstructive surgery to have one built out of fish skin.
Jucilene Marinho, 23, from Ceará, Brazil, underwent a neovaginoplasty in April last year after being born with Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hause (MRKH) left her with no cervix, uterus or ovaries – meaning she will never have children.
The procedure, performed at the Federal University of Ceara involved creating an opening where Ms Marinho’s vagina should have been before inserting a genital-shaped mould lined with the skin of the freshwater fish tilapia.
The fish skin was then absorbed into her body and transformed into tissue that lines the vaginal tract.
After spending three weeks in a hospital, Ms Marinho – the first of four patients given the procedure – was discharged and is now thrilled with the results.
She said: ‘My family and friends took me out to “toast” my new vagina!’
Ms Marinho, who spiralled into a deep depression when she thought she would never have an intimate relationship, has even been able to have sex for the first time with her boyfriend of over a year Marcus Santos, 24.
She added: ‘It was a wonderful moment because everything worked perfectly. There was no pain just a great deal of pleasure and satisfaction.’
‘I thought my world had ended’
Despite being born with MRKH, Ms Marinho was not diagnosed until she was 15 years old.
She had a normal puberty and even experienced menstrual cramps despite never having a period.
Speaking of her diagnosis, Ms Marinho said: ‘I cried a lot when I found out.
‘I thought my world had ended.
‘I’d always dreamed of having a baby of my own now I had to accept that wouldn’t be possible.’
After having the operation, Ms Marinho experienced minor internal bleeding but was told she could have sex at the end of last year.
She said: ‘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.’
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