Taiwanese celebrity reveals infertility secret: born with no womb

Taiwanese celebrity Kelly Huang reveals lack of uterus as main cause of infertility

Kelly Huang (left) and husband Sam Ho (right) at a Genesis Social Welfare Foundation event on Nov. 19, 2016. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Taiwanese celebrity Kelly Huang (小嫻) yesterday revealed a well-guarded secret for 19 years about her rare congenital disorder that made pregnancy physically impossible.

Huang has a rare disorder called Mayer–Rokitansky–Küster–Hauser (MRKH) that is marked by underdeveloped or the absence of a uterus and vagina in women.

"I was not menstruating by the age of 17," said Huang. "At a checkup doctors discovered my uterus was missing, and told me I would be infertile for life.”

The news was devastating for the young Huang. To make matters worse, doctors also diagnosed a benign tumor growing on her right ovary that required immediate removal, leaving her with only one left ovary, reported Apple Daily.

Kelly Huang (left) and husband Sam Ho (right) pose for a photo shot together at a Genesis Social Welfare Foundation fundraising event in November 2016. (CNA)

Despite her health challenges she has been happily married for four years to former basketball star Sam Ho (何守正), who has been very supportive of her condition. Even her in-laws are very understanding about her condition.

"My mother-in-law says she does not want to stress me out with childbearing, and says she will always protect me," she added.

Undeterred by her health condition, Huang is still trying to have a child at the age of 36 to help Ho, the only child in his family, continue the family lineage.

Since surrogacy is illegal in Taiwan, Huang has spent more than NT$4.3 million on fertility treatments and finding a surrogate mother in U.S. in 2015.

Huang’s fertility treatments have been riddled with challenges, due to low ovarian function. Her anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) blood test results in Taiwan four years ago, suggested her ovary function was nearing menopause.

"I was 32 years old at the time, but only had an AMH level of 0.2," said Huang.  "Doctors said my ovary was nearing menopause and that normal levels should be above 2.0.”

She was only able to leave Taiwan for further fertility treatments in U.S. after taking Chinese medicines that helped raise her AMH levels from 0.2 to 0.9 nanogram per milliliter.

She is currently saving up to find a second surrogate mother in the U.S. to bear her child, her first surrogate from Hawaii had a miscarriage and lost the child.

MRKH is a rare congenital syndrome that affects about 1 out of 4,000 women, an estimated 2,000-3,000 women have the syndrome in the country, said Taiwan's fertility expert Dr. Tsai Feng-po.

Many patients are born without a uterus or vagina, and while it is surgically possible to create an artificial vagina in patients, surrogacy is the only option for patients that want children, said Tsai.

Tsai, a former chief physician of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, is now head of Dr. Tsai and Dr. Chen's Women Clinic in Changhua County.