A woman underwent pioneering surgery to have her vagina rebuilt using her bowel in a desperate attempt to become a mother.
Tara Gratton, 37, of Stakeford, Northumberland, suffers from Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome (MRKS).
This caused her to have an ‘underdeveloped’ vagina and ovaries, despite her genitals appearing normal from the outside.
Diagnosed at just 14, Ms Gratton was told she had the most severe form of the condition, leaving her with no vaginal canal, womb, cervix or fallopian tubes, and just one kidney.
While she was still a teen, the support worker went under the knife to have a vaginal tunnel rebuilt using her bowel in surgery known as ileum vaginoplasty.
Ms Gratton – who is in a relationship with Stuart Pretswell, 34 – is on the waiting list for a womb transplant, with the couple hoping to start a family using her own eggs.
Doctors were initially baffled as to what was causing Ms Gratton’s persistent urinary tract infections (UTIs), which she started suffering with when she was just three.
‘My parents had originally taken me to the doctors when I was three, as I kept having kidney infections and nothing seemed able to stop them,’ she said.
‘I spent a long time in Newcastle Children’s Hospital and with antibiotics, it was eventually managed quite well.’