Hi jackfern -
Your cousin should not despair, modern medicine has been successful in
treating cases like hers. From what you describe it appears that
your cousin suffers from vaginal agenesis which means that she did not
develop a uterus or a vagina. It is a somewhat rare syndrome, but it
can be managed in a satisfactory manner.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists,
vaginal agenesis may be treated non-surgically by use of a series of
dilators which expands an internal space until it resembles a vagina.
This dilation procedure requires a very high motivation by the patient
as it is a long and uncomfortable process.
Surgical treatment is often required to fashion a new vagina. This is
usually done by a procedure called the Abbe-McIndoe operation or a
modification of it. In this operation a space is created in the
tissues of the lower abdomen and a skin graft from the patient's inner
thigh is used to form an internal pouch. Subsequently a stent, or
retainer, is kept in the pouch for about 6 months so that it does not
close. When healing is complete, the patient can have sexual
Of course, every patient is different, and you have not given details
of your cousin's particular anatomy, but it appears that there is a
lot of hope. Motivated patients who have a specialist to guide them,
come through the surgery very well, and they are able to have sexual
intercourse. From patients having undergone the Abbe-McIndoe
operation, eggs have been harvested (the patients had ovaries). Thus,
with in vitro fertilization and a surrogate to carry the fetus, these
patients became (genetic) mothers.
Pub Med search terms used:
absence of uterus, congenital