A woman who was born without a v@gina or a womb is desperately trying to raise $9,500 (around £7,340) for treatment to help her start a family.
Sarah Giesbrecht, 21, of Simcoe, Ontario, first realised something was wrong when she still had not started her period at 16 years old.
Doctors dismissed it as nothing serious but it continued for a further two years before tests revealed she had Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome (MRKH).
Faced with the reality she will never conceive, Mrs Giesbrecht – who is married to Jacob, 23 – battled a deep depression for a year.
Now her diagnosis has sunk in, Mrs Giesbrecht has set up a fundraising page to pay for fertility treatment which will help the hopeful mother produce more eggs for IVF before the embryo is implanted into a surrogate.
Speaking of the ordeal, Mrs Giesbrecht said: ‘When I went to the doctor for the first time at 16, the doctor made me feel like this wasn’t an issue, that there was still lots of time for it to happen.
‘I was really confused and my friends and family felt it wasn’t normal because girls normally have their menstrual cycle at the age of 14 or 15.’
After waiting for years for her periods to start, Mrs Giesbrecht decided enough was enough and insisted doctors carry out some tests.
‘My very first test was an ultrasound. I remember lying there, it was so quiet and all I could hear was the machines in the room,’ she said.
‘The lady who was doing my ultrasound wouldn’t say a word and I couldn’t understand why she couldn’t tell me the results. ‘I was frustrated since the results were right there and they made me wait two weeks for the results.
‘Finally, after we got the results, they told me they thought that I had an absent uterus but they wanted me to go for an MRI and blood test, and referred me to a gynaecologist.’
Mrs Giesbrecht was forced to wait three months for an MRI scan, with the results being ready four weeks after the long-awaited appointment.
‘The doctor sat me down and looked at me and said: “I’m sorry, but we have diagnosed you with MRKH syndrome”, while she was explaining to me I was crying and blanked out everything she was saying,’ Mrs Giesbrecht said.
‘I was thinking to myself I will never be a mother and I will never have children. ‘At this time I was in a committed relationship of three years and I knew my boyfriend wanted children as well.
‘The doctor told me my options and, honestly, I didn’t hear anything she said, I was in complete shock. ‘Having children was always my main goal and having that taken from me was hard.’
The condition means Mrs Giesbrecht’s genitals look normal from the outside, however, her v@ginal canal is just a few centimetres long and does not lead to a uteru
She met her husband in 2012 and married in July 2017, with Mr Giesbrecht supporting his wife through every step of her ordeal.
The couple decided to step up a GoFoundMe page to make their dream of being parents a reality.