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Woman Born Without Vagina Gets One Made From Tilapia Fish Skin

By | On January 29, 2019

A Brazilian woman, born without a vagina, has become the first in the world to undergo pioneering reconstructive surgery that successfully created a new vaginal canal using the skin of tilapia fish.


Researchers at the Federal University of Ceara (UFC) in northeast Brazil, led by gynecologist Dr. Leonardo Bezerra, revealed the unprecedented procedure, called a neovaginoplasty, was performed on Jucilene Marinho, 23, in April 2017.

The unorthodox treatment is faster, cheaper and less aggressive than the conventional method used for sufferers of Mayer-Rokitansky-KΓΌster-Hauser (MRKH), a rare congenital disorder that affects approximately one in 5,000 newborn girls and results in the absence of some or all of the female reproductive organs.

The revolutionary treatment involves opening a space between the vagina and anus and inserting a tubular mold lined with the skin of the freshwater fish.


Once in contact with the patient’s body, tilapia skin acts like stem cells and is absorbed and transformed into cellular tissue forming the walls of the canal, similar to that of an actual vagina.

Before being used, the fish skin undergoes a special cleaning and sterilization process in the lab followed by irradiation to kill viruses.

The process removes all the scales and fish smell and results in a light-colored gel dressing that can be stored for up to two years in refrigerated sterile packaging.

An ecstatic Marinho spoke for the first time to FocusOn News about how the ground-breaking surgery has changed her life and made her feel like “a proper woman” who now enjoys a healthy sex life.

Marinho suffered minor internal bleeding and was discharged after three weeks in the hospital and admits the moment she left she went out to celebrate.

“My family and friends, who have always been there for me, took me out to ‘toast’ my new vagina,” she said laughing.

“And it felt so good to have something the majority of women take for granted,” she added with a deep sigh of relief.

Doctors are now working towards offering the new treatment in multiple medical centers throughout Brazil and in different locations across the world once clinical studies have been completed and strict protocols established.
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