A woman feared she’d “never be loved” after she discovered the reason she’d never had a period was she was born without a WOMB.
Melissa Christopher, 31, was “heartbroken” when she was diagnosed with a rare disorder that means her reproductive organs are missing, aged 18.
Her underdeveloped ovaries produce eggs but she has no uterus so can’t carry kids herself – even with IVF.
The store manager from Liverpool has told how the condition makes her feel like she’s “not a real woman”.
Melissa was in a relationship at the time of her diagnosis with Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser – but blames it for her break up four years later.
She feared she’d never get married or find love, but met now-fiancé David Snape, 29, five years ago, and dubbed him “amazing” for loving her for who she is.
They are set to marry next year, and are considering surrogacy so they can start a family in the future.
Melissa said: “I do feel like I’m not really a woman and I’ve found it really hard to come to terms with the fact I’ll never have my own children.
“For ages I thought no one would ever want to be with me.
“It’s the worst possible thing a woman can be told.
“I don’t have a womb and it’s impossible for me to conceive children naturally.
“I’ll never know what it feels like to carry a child and that is heartbreaking.”
Melissa first realised something might be different when she reached 16-years-old and still hadn’t had a period.
She visited her GP and was advised to wait until the age of 18 to see if she was just experiencing late development.
But nothing changed and she was referred her to see specialists at Liverpool Women’s Hospital.
After tests doctors gave her the “hammer blow” diagnosis of Mayer Rokitansky Küster Hauser syndrome (MRKH).
It’s a congenital disorder of the female reproductive system which causes complete or partial underdevelopment of some parts.
The cause is not known.
Melissa burst into tears when she was diagnosed and was told she’d never have babies naturally.
She said: “I was very young at the time and it was so much for me to take in.
“It was heartbreaking to hear and it hit me really hard.
“I was with my mum and after we were told I was offered no after care or anything.
“I hate a breakdown and felt numb.
“I did stay with my boyfriend but the relationship broke down because things got complicated.
“I felt unloved and wondered if it was because I can’t have kids of my own. That took a lot of time for me to get over.”
Melissa found love again, aged 26, and is now engaged to forklift driver David.
Melissa said: “David has been absolutely amazing right from day one.
“He loves me no matter what and wants me for who I am.
“I have had to accept that I’ll never have children of my own.
“It’s so upsetting but we just have to deal with it.”
The pair will get married in October and one day hope to start a family of their own, and are exploring surrogacy or adoption.
Melissa has said surrogacy is the most likely option but estimated it could cost more than £20,000 for procedures and expenses.
She said one of the hardest things to deal with is seeing her friends posting about getting pregnant or giving birth on social media.
She said it “breaks me” when people ask her when she plans on starting a family/
Melissa said: “I really struggle with it every day because I see friends having children and baby showers and celebrating on social media.
“I just wish I could experience that and it is really, really upsetting.
“I do get jealous because I want that so bad.
“It breaks me inside when people ask when I’ll have children.
“I don’t want people to ask me and it is hard to answer.”
Melissa is speaking out to raise awareness of MRKH and encourage more women to talk about “taboo” fertility problems.
Melissa said she also hopes the NHS will soon start to offer more support for women with MRKH and other reproductive conditions.