Palak a journalism graduate believes in simplifying the complicated and writing about the extraordinary lives of ordinary people. She calls herself a " hodophile" or in layman words- a person who loves to travel.
An 18-year-old trans teen from Boston, Massachusetts, who was born with male reproductive organs and raised as a boy, has become pregnant after finding out she had functioning ovaries and a womb.
Mikey Chanel shared her journey from being a boy with effeminate preferences to coming out of the closet and then experiencing motherhood.
Chanel said that she had always felt "different" growing up, however, her life transformed around a year ago when she was diagnosed with a rare condition and found out that she internally had female reproductive organs including ovaries, a uterus, cervix and fallopian tubes.
"It was obvious to everyone that I was different right from the start," she said. Recalling her childhood, she said that she would always play with her aunt's purses and wear her mother's lipstick.
Chanel further added that she never felt like a boy and had feminine physical attributes because of which she was bullied in school and had to go through tremendous mental harassment, reported Mirror.
At the age of 13, Chanel came out as gay and later wondered if she might be transgender. However, her condition was revealed last year when she was undergoing some routine medical tests.
"I had been having a weird feeling after peeing and after sex, so they did an ultrasound of my urinary tract," said the teenager.
"The doctors told me that I had a cervix, ovaries, uterus and fallopian tubes and that I could get pregnant if I wanted to," Chanel said after knowing the shocking diagnosis.
"I actually thought it was a joke, I didn't even know this was possible..? Then they showed me my uterus on the screen," she added.
The doctors informed her that she was suffering from a rare condition that would allow her to conceive baby, however, the procedure also entailed risk to her life.
Chanel was diagnosed with Persistent Müllerian Duct Syndrome (PMDS), a disorder of sexual development affecting males. Such men have male reproductive organs but they also have a uterus and fallopian tubes which are derived from a structure called the Mullerian duct during the development of the fetus.
According to several reports, certain other effects of this disorder may include the inability to father children (infertility) or blood in the semen. Additionally, the undescended testes have the risk that it may break down (degenerate) or develop cancer if left untreated.
Reports have pointed out that Chanel was advised to have a hysterectomy— procedure to remove the uterus but she said that she always knew that she wanted to be the parent she could not have and decided to go for the pregnancy.
"People with PDMS are susceptible to cancer and tumours and the risk is lessened if you have a hysterectomy."
"My male parts came back infertile, but I was told that my ovaries were functioning."
"I always knew I wanted to be a parent. I used to play with baby dolls when I was little and I've always seen kids in my future, so I decided, 'it's now or never I have to try and get pregnant'," she explained.
Chanel detailed on the challenges she faced while she decided to make a life-changing decision. She had to go through fertility procedures and had fertilised embryos implanted into her fallopian tubes.
The fertilised embryos were placed during an elaborate laparoscopic procedure via an abdominal cavity because she did not have a vaginal opening.
Currently four months into her pregnancy, Chanel said that she was informed about a 20 per cent success rate during such operations and she is still shocked but happy to see that it worked out.
"My parents weren't around much when I was a kid, so I want to be the parent that my parents couldn't be, I really want to be there for my child."
"I want to be there for everything from the first step to the first word to them graduating from college. I want to be supportive in everything and anything they chose in life," she said.
To help her deal with the pregnancy, the doctors have prescribed Chanel estrogen. She also said that she has been 'feeling like a woman now than ever'.
The teenager said that she decided to take the bold step of speaking out about her condition and her experience to create awareness and normalising the condition.
"Nobody really speaks about this, most people have never even heard of it," she said. "There isn't a lot of research about it and there aren't a lot of tests, often it's found accidentally, like in my case."
"I feel like there should be more research, I'm just trying to educate people about it. Once people understand it could break a really big stigma with gender and within LGBT communities," she added.
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