I posted a similar article about this topic in June of 2014. Then another article appeared at the end of the year – which made me think that is was important to post again – lest we forget. Why you say? Well, I am in some discussion groups and the same question was asked. Even though many feel this is a wonderful new technique for girl’s and women with vaginal cancers and/or abnormalities… for those of us who have been advocates for women’s reproductive health, and the medicalization and marketing of women’s bodies and new techniques to perfect our bodies… this whole thing makes us squeamish.
We have seen over and over again new products or techniques introduced for a small segment of the market – and then low and behold mass marketed to a larger more profitable and might I add, more vulnerable market. HRT for example. When women in their 50’s and 60’s wisened up to the risks outweighing the benefits – the pharmaceutical companies started marketing their product to teens… just like the cigarette companies, I might add.
Since their is such a strong push to sexualize and medicalize women and their bodies, I felt this new article needed to be brought to your – my reader’s – attention. Better to be aware than caught off guard. Bottom line is women need to realize that we are being objectified – at a faster rate than many of us would care to think.
The power of regenerative medicine… I just read this statement below saying that lab-built body parts are on the rise because of a lack of organ donors. I did not think one could donate their vagina…. see what I mean?
Lab-Grown Vaginas Implanted Successfully In 4 Teenagers
December 29, 2014
Ever since scientists grew a human bladder in a laboratory in 1996, researchers have continued to develop more complex organs. Beating human hearts have also been grown in the lab and infected with disease to test various drugs. As a result of these medical advancements, people have had their lives changed for the better.
For example, there have been multiple windpipe replacements, tear duct replacements, artery transplants, bladder transplants and more. The development of lab-built body parts is on the rise as a result of a shortage of organ donors, and many of these organs are built with the recipients own cells. This is the power of regenerative medicine.
One of the most recent successful lab grown organ transplants is the female vagina. Researchers were able to successfully implant lab-grown vaginas into 4 teenage girls, and the results were published earlier this year. Tissue samples from the poorly developed vulva as well as a biodegradable scaffold were used.
“We were able to shape the scaffold specifically for each patient, and place this device with the cells in a bioreactor – which is an ovenlike device and has the same conditions as the human body – for about a week, until it was slightly more mature.” (source) – Dr. Anthony Atala, lead researcher, director of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Centre’s Institute for regenerative medicine.
They grew each vagina from the cells of each patient and then implanted them. So far so good, as the patients are now able to be sexually active and have reported normal functioning (several years later). All of the women reported normal levels of “desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm and satisfaction.” The study was published earlier this year in the journal Lancet. (1)
The vaginas were constructed at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Centre in North Carolina.
“Really for the first time we’ve created a whole organ that was never there to start with, it was a challenge. A functioning vagina was a very important thing for these women’s lives and witnessing the difference it made to them was very rewarding to see.” (source) – Dr. Anthony Atala
This is a huge step in the world of regenerative medicine, as this particular breakthrough could be used to possibly treat vaginal cancer, injuries, and those who require reconstructive surgery.