WHAT IS MRKH?
Pictures by Mind Over MRKH.
Words by MRKH Stars Superstar Imogen
MRKH (short for Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser Syndrome) is a condition that affects between 1 in 4500-5000 females and is characterised by the failure of the development of the uterus and vaginal canal. People with MRKH have XX (female) chromosomes, typical female external genitalia and female secondary sexual characteristics (breast growth, pubic hair etc). Even though the condition is congenital - meaning it is present from before birth -, most are not diagnosed until the teenage years due to the absence of a menstrual period.
Generally speaking, those with MRKH have typically functioning ovaries and often fallopian tubes and uterine remnants (evidence of a womb that started developing). It is also common for the vaginal canal to be shorter than those of women without MRKH. Whilst this may lead to differences in the way we initially have sexual intercourse, it is often either treatable by surgery, a method called dilation or through natural stretching of the vagina whilst having sex. Because of our functioning ovaries, it is important to remember that whilst we do not bleed monthly, most of us still have a menstrual cycle that can come with all the hormonal mood swings, cravings, tender breasts and cramps that others with ovaries experience.
Because of the absence or underdevelopment of the uterus, those diagnosed with MRKH are part of the 12.5% of the population who will struggle with infertility. It varies case to case, but often healthy and fertile eggs can be retrieved from the ovaries and then be fertilised via IVF and placed into a surrogate, meaning people with MRKH are generally still able to have biological children. There have also been multiple successful uterus transplants that have enabled people with MRKH to carry their own biological child. This treatment isn’t currently widely available, but hopefully will be an option for the generations of people to be diagnosed with MRKH in the future!
Whether you are a woman or not, having MRKH does not make your gender any less valid and you will not be loved any less because of it <3.