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Disease Profile

Mullerian aplasia

Prevalence estimates on Rare Medical Network websites are calculated based on data available from numerous sources, including US and European government statistics, the NIH, Orphanet, and published epidemiologic studies. Rare disease population data is recognized to be highly variable, and based on a wide variety of source data and methodologies, so the prevalence data on this site should be assumed to be estimated and cannot be considered to be absolutely correct.

1-5 / 10 000

US Estimated

Europe Estimated

Age of onset





Autosomal dominant A pathogenic variant in only one gene copy in each cell is sufficient to cause an autosomal dominant disease.


Autosomal recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of each gene of the chromosome are needed to cause an autosomal recessive disease and observe the mutant phenotype.


dominant X-linked dominant inheritance, sometimes referred to as X-linked dominance, is a mode of genetic inheritance by which a dominant gene is carried on the X chromosome.


recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of a gene on the X chromosome cause an X-linked recessive disorder.


Mitochondrial or multigenic Mitochondrial genetic disorders can be caused by changes (mutations) in either the mitochondrial DNA or nuclear DNA that lead to dysfunction of the mitochondria and inadequate production of energy.

Multigenic or multifactor Inheritance involving many factors, of which at least one is genetic but none is of overwhelming importance, as in the causation of a disease by multiple genetic and environmental factors.


Not applicable


Other names (AKA)

Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome; Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser syndrome (MRKH); Congenital absence of the uterus and vagina (CAUV);


The following summary is from Orphanet, a European reference portal for information on rare diseases and orphan drugs.

Orpha Number: 3109

Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome describes a spectrum of Mullerian duct anomalies characterized by congenital aplasia of the uterus and upper 2/3 of the vagina in otherwise phenotypically normal females. It can be classified as either MRKH syndrome type 1 (corresponding to isolated utero-vaginal aplasia) or MRKH syndrome type 2 (utero-vaginal aplasia associated with other malformations) (see these terms).

MRKH syndrome has a worldwide incidence of 1/4500 live female births.

Clinical description
MRKH syndrome is most often diagnosed in adolescence as the first symptom is usually a primary amenorrhea in young women presenting otherwise with normal development of secondary sexual characteristics and normal external genitalia. MRKH syndrome type 1 and 2 patients lack the uterus and the upper 2/3 of the vagina leading to difficulties with sexual intercourse in some. Pelvic pain can be reported in those with uterine remnants. As the uterus is missing or not functional, women cannot bear children, but ovaries are normal and functional. Other associated malformations seen in MRKH type 2 include kidney abnormalities (40% of cases), skeletal abnormalities (20-25%), hearing impairment (10%), and, more rarely, heart defects.

The exact etiology is largely unknown, even if the spectrum of malformations encountered suggests a developmental defect of the intermediate mesoderm during embryogenesis (by the end of the 4th week of fetal life), leading to an alteration of the blastema of the cervicothoracic somites and the pronephric ducts. It is now clear that MRKH syndrome has a genetic origin through increasing family descriptions and numerous genetic studies already completed. These latter have led to reveal several chromosomal abnormalities associated with the disease and several putative candidate genes have been described.

Diagnostic methods
The karyotype of MRKH patients is always 46, XX. Hormone levels are normal, showing normal and functional ovaries without hyperandrogenism. Transabdominal ultrasonography must be the first investigation in evaluating patients with suspected utero-vaginal aplasia. MRI can be performed to clearly visualize the malformation. A full check-up (renal ultrasonography, spine radiography, heart echography, audiogram) must be undertaken to search for any associated malformations.

Differential diagnosis
Differential diagnosis includes isolated vaginal atresia, which is found in various syndromes such as McKusick-Kaufman syndrome, androgen insensitivity syndrome, Mullerian aplasia and hyperandrogenism, and renal-genital-middle ear anomalies (see these terms).

Genetic counseling
MRKH syndrome was thought to be purely sporadic but familial cases seem to be inherited autosomal dominantly with incomplete penetrance and variable expressivity, and in these cases genetic counseling can be beneficial.

Management and treatment
The medical care of MRKH patients requires the coordinated efforts of pediatricians, gynecologists, surgeons, endocrinologists and psychologists. Treatment consisting in creating a neovagina must be offered to patients only when they are ready to start sexual activity and when emotionally mature (around 17-21 years). Frank's (nonsurgical) method requires the application of vaginal dilators on the vaginal dimple for at least 20 minutes/day for several months. If unsuccessful, various surgical procedures can be performed to create a neovagina. Clinical follow-up and regular intercourse are essential components to a successful outcome. Psychological support and counseling is strongly recommended for affected women and should provide patients with future fertility options (in vitro fertilization of one's own oocytes followed by surrogate pregnancy or adoption). For the associated malformations in MRKH type 2, specific medical care is directed toward the anomalies.

MRKH syndrome is not a life threatening disease. With treatment, sexual relationships are possible and fertility options are available.

Visit the Orphanet disease page for more resources.


This table lists symptoms that people with this disease may have. For most diseases, symptoms will vary from person to person. People with the same disease may not have all the symptoms listed. This information comes from a database called the Human Phenotype Ontology (HPO) . The HPO collects information on symptoms that have been described in medical resources. The HPO is updated regularly. Use the HPO ID to access more in-depth information about a symptom.

Medical Terms Other Names
Learn More:
80%-99% of people have these symptoms
Aplasia of the uterus
Absent uterus
uterus absent

[ more ]

Hypoplasia of the vagina
Underdeveloped vagina
5%-29% of people have these symptoms
Abnormal form of the vertebral bodies
Abnormal sacrum morphology
Ectopic kidney
Abnormal kidney location
Displaced kidney

[ more ]

Horseshoe kidney
Horseshoe kidneys
Unilateral renal agenesis
Absent kidney on one side
Missing one kidney
Single kidney

[ more ]

Vertebral fusion
Spinal fusion
Percent of people who have these symptoms is not available through HPO
Abnormal absence of menstruation
Aplasia of the vagina
Absent vagina
Autosomal dominant inheritance
Autosomal recessive inheritance
Hypoplasia of the uterus
Small uterus
Underdeveloped uterus

[ more ]



Making a diagnosis for a genetic or rare disease can often be challenging. Healthcare professionals typically look at a person’s medical history, symptoms, physical exam, and laboratory test results in order to make a diagnosis. The following resources provide information relating to diagnosis and testing for this condition. If you have questions about getting a diagnosis, you should contact a healthcare professional.

Testing Resources

  • The Genetic Testing Registry (GTR) provides information about the genetic tests for this condition. The intended audience for the GTR is health care providers and researchers. Patients and consumers with specific questions about a genetic test should contact a health care provider or a genetics professional.


    Support and advocacy groups can help you connect with other patients and families, and they can provide valuable services. Many develop patient-centered information and are the driving force behind research for better treatments and possible cures. They can direct you to research, resources, and services. Many organizations also have experts who serve as medical advisors or provide lists of doctors/clinics. Visit the group’s website or contact them to learn about the services they offer. Inclusion on this list is not an endorsement by GARD.

    Organizations Supporting this Disease

      Learn more

      These resources provide more information about this condition or associated symptoms. The in-depth resources contain medical and scientific language that may be hard to understand. You may want to review these resources with a medical professional.

      Where to Start

        In-Depth Information

        • The Monarch Initiative brings together data about this condition from humans and other species to help physicians and biomedical researchers. Monarch’s tools are designed to make it easier to compare the signs and symptoms (phenotypes) of different diseases and discover common features. This initiative is a collaboration between several academic institutions across the world and is funded by the National Institutes of Health. Visit the website to explore the biology of this condition.
        • Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) is a catalog of human genes and genetic disorders. Each entry has a summary of related medical articles. It is meant for health care professionals and researchers. OMIM is maintained by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. 
        • Orphanet is a European reference portal for information on rare diseases and orphan drugs. Access to this database is free of charge.
        • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Mullerian aplasia. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.