Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine/WFBMC Photography
Eight years after they received implants, four young women report they have functioning sexual and excretory organs
Follow-up tests show the new vaginas are indistinguishable from the women's own tissue and have grown in size as the young women, who got the implants as teens, matured.
Two of the four implant recipients, who were born with a working uterus but no vagina, now menstruate normally.
It is not yet clear whether these women can bear children, but because they are menstruating, it suggests their ovaries are working, so it may be possible, said Dr. Anthony Atala, director of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center's Institute for Regenerative Medicine in North Carolina.
All implant recipients also reported that they are sexually active and satisfied with their arousal and orgasms, according to a press release from The Lancet, the medical journal where information on the implants was published Friday. They report no unusual pain.
The feat, which Atala and colleagues in Mexico describe in the article, is the latest demonstration from the growing field of regenerative medicine, a discipline in which doctors take advantage of the body's power to regrow and replace cells.