In 2008, a paper was published reporting on a woman who had normal periods, conceived and gave birth normally, went through menopause normally and had normal hormones. Everything about her was as expected... except that most of the cells in her body had XY chromosomes.
Now, typically a fertilised egg with a 46XY karyotype will go on to have a penis and testes, and produce sperm. With a 46XX karyotype, it will go on to have a uterus and ovaries, vagina and vulva, and produce eggs.


There are lots of variations.
The woman's family came to the attention of doctors because many members of her family had intersex traits or a history of infertility. Her daughter had a 46XY karyotype - she saw a doctor because she hadn't developed breasts or started her periods at age 17.
Due to her family history, they decided to undertake karyotyping of her mother, who had given birth to her...

Every cell in her mother's blood had a 46XY karyotype, too.
Her fertility could be explained by mosaicism - where cells in the same body are slightly different due to mutations.

The woman did display mosaicism. In her skin cells, 80% of cells had a 46XY karyotype... the rest had a 45X karyotype.
45X - having only one X chromosome - is called Turner syndrome. Individuals with Turner syndrome are very seldom fertile.
But maybe the woman's chromosomes were as to be expected in her ovaries? (which were perfectly normal in appearance, and showed signs of having ovulated)

93% of the cells in the woman's ovaries were 46XY. Another 6% were 45X. Only 0.6% were 46XX.

And the remaining 0.6% were 47XXY, also known as Klinefelter syndrome, which causes physical differences and fertility difficulty... in males.
Everything about the woman appeared perfectly normal, aside from the fact her chromosomes were very different from what you'd expect to find.
The researchers noted that they have no idea if this woman was a one-off, or if there's more people like her, because there is no reason to karyotype someone who developed as expected, and experienced no problems with fertility.
You can read the paper here:…

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More from @vagina_museum

22 Nov
WHO'S READY FOR A LITTLE BIT OF 15TH CENTURY ASTROLOGY? We're going to call out your sign, 15th century-style.

Anatomical Zodiac by the Limbourg Brothers from Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, a 15th century book of hours, circa 1412-1416, Musée Condé. Image
In this illustration, the 12 signs of the zodiac are depicted around the edge of a vulva shape. Inside are two androgynous figures with the signs corresponding with parts of the body.
So if you're an Aries, you're the head. If you're Capricorn, you're knees. If you're Scorpio, you're crotch.

We were born on 20th March, which makes us beneath the feet. Oof.
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19 Nov
It's #InternationalMensDay, so we're going to introduce you to some trans men from history today.
Before we begin, we'd like to note there are caveats in interpreting people from the past as trans. This is discussed in our podcast episode Trans Saints and Gay Vikings, featuring @MxComan and @queertyyr - you can listen here…
We'll start with a trans saint discussed in the podcast: St Marinos the Monk. Marinos lived in the 5th century, in what is now Syria or Lebanon. He became a monk as a young man - in this 14th century French illustration, he's the guy in red.
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17 Nov
Guess when the first gender neutral menstrual product was invented....

If your guess was a date any later than April 1862, you're wrong.
Meet the Improved Female Supporters Or Truss Or Support Or Catamenial Sack, submitted by Alexander D. Reeves in 1862, a device "for all purposes of both male and female uses". ImageBeitknown that I, ALEXANDER...Image
In particular, it was "more especially a female periodical receptacle", which means you can keep your copies of Good Housekeeping and Cosmo in there.
Read 5 tweets
16 Nov
Today is a very special fanny-versary. On this day in 2019, the Vagina Museum opened its doors to the public with our first exhibition, Muff Busters: Vagina Myths and How to Fight Them.
We were nervous and excited, all at once. Would people come? Was there a demand for a physical space dedicated to vaginas, vulvas and the gynaecological anatomy? Were we ready to unveil ourselves to the world?
Before opening, we'd trained up our volunteers with a programme of pre-opening events (pic taken by vulvateer @KiRhymesWithPie)... but what would happen when we fully opened?
Read 11 tweets
5 Nov
In the entire Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise there are fewer than 20 deaths by chainsaw.

But did you know that chainsaws saved many lives in the 18th and 19th centuries when they were invented as an obstetric surgical tool?
Chainsaws were invented in the late 18th century, roughly simultaneously by two different Scottish physicians: John Aiken, who invented one for an obstetric procedure, and James Jeffray who invented the same device for use in removing diseased bone. We'll be talking about Aiken.
In 1785 when Aiken published his textbook Principles of Midwifery, or Puerperal Medicine, obstructed labour - where the baby can't pass through the bones of the pelvis - was highly dangerous and frequently lethal. There were three options available for treatment. None were great.
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27 Oct
On this day in 1967, the Abortion Act received royal assent, legalising terminations of pregnancy under certain grounds. At the time the Act was passed, there were around 60 deaths per year from illegal "backstreet" abortions, and many more serious injuries and complications.
The Abortion Act 1967 establishes circumstances under which abortion is permitted. It has only ever applied in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) and has never been in effect in Northern Ireland.
However, abortion remains regulated under criminal law in GB - what the Abortion Act 1967 does is establish circumstances for lawful abortion care, while a Victorian law, the Offences Against The Person Act of 1861 still applies to abortions outside of these circumstances.
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