By Nora Hakramaj @noraaahak
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Videographer / director: Susan Tan
Producer: Nora Hakramaj, Ruby Coote
Editor: Alberto Falcone
Kaylee Moats, 22, from Gilbert, Arizona, was born with Mayer Rokitansky Küster Hauser syndrome (MRKH), which means she has no cervix, uterus, or vaginal opening.
Kaylee said, “When I first found out about my condition my mom was with me at the gynaecologist. I was heartbroken and confused when the doctor came in and told me he didn’t see a uterus in the ultrasound. I was scared for the future because I didn’t know what’s coming up next and how I would be able to have my own family one-day.
“I didn’t know that I didn’t have a vaginal opening until later on because they only did an ultrasound at first. This was even worse when I found out because I already accepted the fact that I couldn’t carry my own children, but that just brought another set of worries for me.
“The doctor did give me four different options for the type of surgery that I could have. They didn’t check down there, so I did my own research and realized I have type one, which is the dimpled skin. I went to my mom and said ‘ I don’t see an opening’ and we both started crying.
“I would always wonder like where do you even put your tampon if I were to start my period since I couldn’t see where I could put it in down there. I do sometimes have sharp pain in my ovaries. I still ovulate like any other woman it just gets dissolved into my ovaries instead of being released.”
Having a relationship with the condition may be difficult, but her boyfriend Robbie Limmer of four months, accepts her for whom she is and even contributes $50 from every pay check he gets towards Kaylee's campaign.
Kaylee said, “I met Robbie in my senior year of college when I was working at the front desk. He thought I was cute so he came up to me and we started talking since.
“It took about a month for me to tell him that I have MRKH. He was confused at first but supportive and said that it doesn’t change how he see’s me.
“He doesn’t really focus on the sexual side of our relationship because we can’t do anything since I don’t have a vaginal opening. But I am looking forward to having a sexual relationship. I’m not sure If I want to wait until marriage but I think having that option there is a lot more comforting.”
“I’m a bit nervous to have sex for the first time after surgery because I’m not sure if something is going to go wrong down there or if it’s going to hurt.
Kaylee was diagnosed aged 18 when, alarmed by the fact she had not yet got her period, she took a trip to the gynaecologist.
Kaylee said: “I waited so long to go to the doctors because my family thought I was a late bloomer and would probably get my period a bit later. The main thing that made me realise that I had MRKH was that I didn’t get my period but my 12-year-old sister did.
“It does look exactly how it should look like, everything looks normal the only thing is I don’t have the vaginal opening - its just a little dimpled skin where the hole should be.
“It was hard being around people in high school and college when the girls would bring up their periods or talk about their pregnancies and kids. A lot of the time they didn’t know I had the condition so if someone asked if I had a tampon I would just say no and kept quite. I had to keep to myself and pretend that it didn't bother me.”
“Before I found out I had MRKH I was already a very shy person so I would always worry about when I would get a boyfriend. I was constantly worrying about what my future boyfriend would think once I told them. I was scared that they would break up with me if I did tell them. It was always a fear of mine to be rejected because of what I have.”
Since the surgery is considered a cosmetic surgery and therefore not covered by insurance, her sister Amanda started a GoFundMe page to raise the $15,000 she will need for the surgery.
She has already reached $3,445 and plans on having her surgery in Atlanta.
Kaylee said: “The fact that insurance considers this a cosmetic or a gender surgery really upsets me. I have all the correct chromosomes of a woman so it’s not a gender or cosmetic thing because it’s not what’s outside that is different. I can’t see inside what is wrong with me.
“I think not being able to have the surgery would have a negative impact on my relationship because sex is a big part of a relationship. I do think it sucks that I can’t do sexual things with Robbie even if I wanted too but that hasn’t really been the focus of our relationship.
“The only people that know about my condition is my family, a few relatives, Robbie and some friends. Getting the surgery will help me feel normal and have all the right body parts as any other girl. I won’t have to hide that part of my life. That part of my life will be fixed."
While she may never be able to have kids of her own, her sister has offered to be her surrogate, using Kaylee’s eggs to fulfil her dream of being a mother - and Kaylee says she may even eventually considering adoption in the future.
Kaylee said: "This will make me not have to worry anymore and not be a huge burden on me. I’ve already accepted the fact that I can’t carry my own children but this part of my life is a constant worry. It would be nice to not have to worry about it anymore.
"I try daily to not let it get me down and make me feel a less of a person and define me. That’s a daily struggle for me and I’m still trying to accept myself, accept what I have and not dwell on it.
"For people that have MRKH, I’d tell them that you’re not alone - even though you may feel alone.”
To donate towards Kaylee’s surgery visit: https://www.gofundme.com/zpw46v-kaylees-surgical-fund