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From: (Steven B. Harris )
Subject: Re: 2 Uterus and 2 Cervic's???
Date: 08 Oct 1995

In <458tb7$> (Janaki C
Kuruppu) writes:

>In article <454j7c$>,
>John Beck <> wrote:
>>My wife and I are trying to have children.
>>She went to get a sono-gram today, and was told she had two uterus's and
>>two cervic's. She has a follow up appointment with her doctore next week
>>to explain the results.
>>Can anyone tell me what that means, to have two of them??
>>What are the chances of us having children?
>Firstly, her OB/GYN will be your best source for information on exactly
>what this means, and they will be able to draw your picture or show you
>models to demonstrate this condition.
>The uterus and cervix, as well as the fallopian tubes, develop from
>embryonic structures called the Mullerian system.  In males, the
>corresponding anatomy (i.e. the vas deferens, seminal vesicles, prostate)
>develop from embryonic structures called the Wolffian system.  At a very
>early stage of development, the two systems, Mullerian and Wolffian,
>coexist.  If the embryo has an XY genotype, the undifferentiated gonad
>will produce testosterone, which will signal the gonad to become the
>testes, and will cause maturation of the Wolffian system and degeneration
>of the Mullerian system.  With the XX genotype, testosterone is not
>produced, and the Mullerian system develops and the Wolffian system
>degenerates (and the gonads become ovaries).
>The Mullerian ducts begin and two tubes, leading from the gonads/ovaries
>to the area near where the vagina will form.  At the early embryonic
>stage, the ovaries are located near the kidneys.  As the Mullerian system
>develops, the ovaries migrate downward into the pelvis, and the lower
>part of the ducts come together in the midline and fuse, forming the
>cervix and uterus.  The portions of the ducts that do not fuse become the
>fallopian tubes, which form channels on either side from ovary to uterus.
>When fusion of the ducts does not occur at all, the result will be two
>uteri and two cervices.  Partial fusion, which is somewhat more common,
>leads to one cervix with two uteri above it, or two a uterus with a
>septum, or wall in the middle creating two chambers.
>Whether your wife will be able to bear a child will depend on a number of
>factors, which her doctors will need to discuss with both of you. There
>may be surgical options available, or the size of one of the two uteri
>may be large enough to accommodate a baby.  However, in many cases, each
>uterus will be too small to allow a fetus to develop to term.
>I know this must be a difficult time for you and your wife.  Dealing with
>the possibility of not having children is very stressful on individuals
>and on couples, and, no matter how rational one is, there tend to be many
>feeling of guilt and blame.  I would encourage you to seek support groups
>and or counselling, depending on the advice you get from the OB/GYN doctors.
>Good luck,

  Great explanation.  As an example of how evolutionary biology can
help one to understand why things are the way they are, note that two
uterine arms is the standard design among most mammals, so humans with
this are probably just failing to express some recent evolutionary gene
regulation change.  Possums, a more distantly related non-placental
mammal, not only have two uteri and two cervixes and a forked vagina,
but the male (o)possum has a penis appropriately forked at the end to
deal with the anatomy!  I kid you not.

   Your party trivia for the day.
                                            Steve Harris, M.D.

From: (Steven B. Harris )
Subject: Re: Opposums
Date: 10 Oct 1995

In <45db5i$> (OOOTTAFAGV)
><<Possums, a more distantly related non-placental
><<mammal, not only have two uteri and two cervixes and a forked vagina,
><<but the male (o)possum has a penis appropriately forked at the end to
><<deal with the anatomy!  I kid you not.
>Sorry, I can't resist relating the history of this discovery as related to
>me by a zoology professor around 1967.  It seems that zoologist had
>discovered the bifurcate penis but had not bothered to check out the
>female.  They concluded that the penis was inserted into the nostrils of
>the female, whereupon she turned around and sneezed into her vagina. It
>was only later that these (male) scientists looked at the female and
>discovered the bifurcate vagina.  If you like that story, I'll tell you
>about the scientist who studied hibernation in bears by tracking rectal
>temperatures during the winter.

   ROFL.  The opossum story I hadn't heard.  What would Pogo have said
of it, had Pogo been able to comment on it in a family newspaper?  As
for the bears, I heard somebody had a bear that was trained and
accomodated to humans, or otherwise they would have ended up with
bloody gobbits instead of scientists.  Bears, of course, don't
hibertate in the usual sense we think of in smaller animals (with
greatly lowered temps and coma).  Rather, they are just asleep (most of
the time).  And I'm sure they'd wake up for a rectal thermometer....

   P.S.  The oppossum female reproductive anatomy impressed scientists
so much that the entire oppossum family name is Didelphidae, and the
common N. American ("Virginia") opossum, the biggest of the approx 65
species, is "Didelphis marsupialis."

                                        Steve Harris, M.D.

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