How? Doesn't she have a vagina! How come?
Here she is, standing in front of me.
It seems strange, but there isn't... Moreover, this is not a rare occurrence. In one out of every 5,000 female births, girls do not have a vagina and a uterus. They are born that way. But this is kept as a "secret" because of social pressures. Because the vagina and uterus are perceived as indispensable to femininity. Or you are missing!
Selma K. is an extremely modern, educated woman in her 30s. Besides, she's a doctor. Her husband is also a doctor. They live in Antalya. She had a new operation, the operation was performed by Professor Fatih Şendağ. A vagina was made for her.
I met her when she came to Istanbul for control. The reason she agreed to talk to me is to encourage women who have gone through similar things but who feel "lost" and "incomplete" because of social pressures...
After all, this is also a dysfunction, just as there are those who are born with heart valve problems, holes or tears, and there are those who are born without a vagina or a uterus...
Selma K. told them, “You are not alone!” she means.
“Like everything else, this too has a solution!” she means ... let's listen to her ...
When did you first discover that you were different?
- I was a boarding student at a science high school, but I didn't get my period. However, when I was 15 years old, all my friends had been. “I think there is something wrong!” I said.
Did you go to the doctor?
- Yes. Examined with ultrasound. “I can't see your womb!” said. Then I had an MRI. As a result, my parents said: "You don't have a uterus, but it's okay." They were extremely affectionate and protective. But I understood the situation...
Didn't you also have a uterus?
How did you feel?
- That's bad. I never wanted to talk about this. I was different from my peers. And I kept it a secret!
Is this a disease?
- Not! It's a congenital syndrome. Mayer Rokitansky Küster Hauser syndrome, which is known as the failure of the development of the tubes, the uterus and the upper two-thirds of the vagina, which are the female internal genital organs, in the mother's womb.
Why would that happen?
- Unknown. Genetic and environmental factors are held responsible. It occurs in one of every 5,000 female births. Adapting to the population of Turkey, there should be 7,500 girls born with this syndrome.
It's not that little actually...
- Yes, but no one talks about it because of social pressures. I also felt very lonely. “The woman who cannot give birth” is taboo for us. Although I don't feel deficient, society thinks I am.
Have you told your friends?
- I had to explain some of it. I've been a boarding student since high school. They understood that I was not menstruating. They were taken by surprise. They tried not to show it, but they always took pity on me!
“I will never have a normal life!” Did you think?
- Of course. I never had dreams of getting married or having children!
Did you decide to study medicine?
- My father encouraged me. I think deep down he thought that I could access information and treatments about my disease more easily.
- I met my husband in medical school. Solid character, handsome, wonderful friend. Reliable, fun, smart... But he was always my friend! What is this! One day he told me he was in love with me. Of course I'm devastated! I was confused what to do. There is someone who says he loves you and wants to spend the rest of his life with you, but I don't have a vagina, a uterus? I was suddenly suffocated. On the other hand, he sensed that I was hiding something, that I was not telling him something and began to press me.
What happened then?
- Well, I had to tell you later. More precisely, I just said the name of the syndrome. There was a deep silence. And suddenly, "Is that what you've been hiding for weeks?" she said, “It doesn't matter to me, I love you unconditionally!” As if that wasn't enough, he proposed marriage. I can't explain how surprised I was. Knowing my reservations about not being able to have children and not having sexual intercourse, she thought I could say "No", but of course I said "Yes". It's a gift from God...
What if he was from another profession?
- Being a doctor has benefited our relationship in the following ways: It was easy for him to perceive the situation. But even if he was from another profession, nothing would have changed, we truly love each other unconditionally.
Why do those who have such problems find each other abroad, but there is no voice in Turkey?
- Unfortunately, it is not possible to express this situation in our country, so be as comfortable as you want, it is not possible to communicate with someone like you. Abroad, there are hundreds of women who come together in support groups via the internet. It is enough to write the name of the syndrome in internet search engines. In Turkey, this is a taboo. No one wants to eat this stigma...
How did you find a doctor in Turkey who can solve this problem?
- We learned the medical name of the operation. When we scanned it in scientific articles, Prof. Dr. We heard that Fatih Şendağ performed this surgery and his reputation. First we texted each other. Then we met face to face and made the necessary plans...
Have you been given a vagina?
- Yes. The naturally existing, limited-length vagina was stretched and stretched to become a fully functioning organ.
'I don't have a vagina!' He said 'What does it matter, I love you unconditionally!'
This interview is to give hope to those like him, “You are not alone!” gives to say. Selma is a physician living in Antalya in her 30s. His wife is also a physician. The name of the syndrome he experienced is “Mayer Rokintansky Küster Hauser syndrome. She was born with no vagina and no uterus. She had an operation two months ago and now she has a vagina...
- What's the situation now? Have you fully recovered?
The post-operative treatment continues. It's been about two months. But we can have intercourse with my wife. However, full recovery took 6 months.
- Is it possible for you to have children in normal ways?
No. Although I have working ovaries, we cannot have children naturally because I do not have a uterus. We want to go the surrogacy route.
- Is it free in Turkey?
No crime. So you are born guilty! In my case, having a child from my own genetics is only possible with surrogacy, but you cannot do this in Turkey. You have to turn to countries that are legal abroad. And unfortunately it is both very difficult and expensive. Moreover, you have to live this process in secret.
- Do your relatives know that you had this surgery and that a vagina was made for you?
My first degree relatives only. I have to hide it like I committed a crime. I hope one day I can be free about this in my country as well.
- You can say this interview to those in your situation, “You are not alone!” do you mean to say?
Definitely yes! I'm sure there are couples with similar problems. Although the vagina creation surgery is performed in different ways in many centers of Turkey, Prof. I preferred Fatih Şendağ's method because it is the most natural one. It was a tough process but everything was worth it. I hope one day we can talk under the umbrella of an association formed by individuals with this syndrome and seek our rights.
- Your husband did not make this an issue in a male-dominated place like Turkey. He built a happy life with you. How do you evaluate this situation?
Sometimes I think my partner was made for me. There is no limit to the sacrifice he has made. May Allah grant understanding spouses to people in my situation.
- How would you describe your love for him?
I've been in love ten. I fell in love not only with his physique, but also with his character and personality. I am always grateful to have such a wife. I told her, “I have no vagina, no uterus!” I said, he said to me, “What does it matter? I want to marry with you!" said. Would you believe it, even I was surprised by his reaction, I thought maybe he didn't understand the situation. "Are you sure?" I said. He laughed. "I'm sure... I love you unconditionally," he said...
KEMAL K. TELLS:
- How did you feel when you found out that the woman you love has such a problem?
I was upset... I was surprised... But "We'll get over it, we'll get it done, the important thing is the love we have for each other!" I thought. And at the same time he said, “What would have happened if he had told someone else instead of me?” I thought. Because most men would walk away...
- Well, you didn't hesitate?
Actually no. I had found the woman and love I was looking for.
- You loved so much that you couldn't see anything? Even not having a vagina and a uterus...
In a way yes. I always wanted to protect him. For example, I thought if I should tell my own family, how would they react? Since my wife did not leave my love unrequited, we have been able to overcome all the difficulties so far.
- Did you encourage him to have the surgery?
We both knew it was a necessity rather than an encouragement. We just waited for the appropriate time and sufficient financial means.
- Would you be so understanding if you weren't a physician?
Okay, you become more conscious when you become a doctor, but... When it comes to love, how many writers do you think you have become a doctor or not? While Ferhat pierced the mountains for Şirin, and Mecnun crossed the deserts for Leyla, my understanding for my wife remains zero...
PROF. DR. FATIH SENDAG:
How common is this problem?
Vaginal agenesis, congenital underdevelopment of the vagina. Its prevalence is one in 4-5 thousand live female births.
- Is this a disease or what?
In fact, they are physically and psychologically normal. Their genetic makeup is also normal. It's not a disease. It occurs with the absence of menstruation in adolescence. However, if the newborn examination is done well, it can be detected at birth. Physical and spiritual development in the direction of femininity. They cannot have a normal sexual intercourse and cannot give birth.
- Is there a cure?
A new vagina can be created surgically. Which is what we did in this case.
- Is a uterus transplant possible?
It is quite new in the world and the group in Sweden had the first live births.
- Are there any risks of vaginal surgeries?
In some techniques, a vagina is made using a skin sample taken from the hip or leg, or it can be done from the abdominal lining. There are serious risks involved in all of this. However, in our method, the tissue between the urinary tract and the intestine is stretched and a new space is created with the closed method – laparoscopy. The risks are less and a natural vagina is formed.
- Can she then continue her normal life?
Of course, of course. They can have normal sexual intercourse 2-3 months after the operation.
- Is being born with this syndrome a reason to be found strange in society?
Of course it does. The patient sees himself as half a woman. He feels incomplete because he cannot achieve the sexual union that every woman can achieve. She is afraid that when she gets married, she will not be able to respond to her husband's wishes. She hides it from everyone because she is ashamed. Only 20 percent go to the doctor, she. They don't even know where to apply. Unfortunately, sexuality is still a taboo in our society. What's worse is that our people are not aware of their own bodies and genitals. Not knowing what normal is. We witness very dramatic stories. A woman without a vagina can get married and the man does not know about it. The man is unaware of the woman's genitals. He can use unconventional ways in sexual intercourse. When I examined one of my patients, I was shocked, they were using the urinary tract during sexual intercourse and they thought it was normal. I think education is very important to raise awareness in our society. In a society where vagina is not mentioned because it is taboo, patients who do not naturally have a vagina cannot access information about whether there is a solution for this. They see this as fate and prefer to remain silent in order not to be excluded.