Doctors in Turkey have reported the case of a boy born without a penis. Before you all say it (and it's probably too late): No, we are not describing a girl.
Writing in Urology Case Reports, doctors describe a newborn boy who was admitted to the Necmettin Erbakan University Meram Medical Faculty at one day old, having been diagnosed with penile agenesis (PA) – the failure of a penis to develop during embryonic growth. The condition is extremely uncommon and only affects one in 10-30 million live births.
"Complete penile agenesis is a rare congenital genitourinary anomaly and is usually associated with other malformations such as gastrointestinal, cardiac, and musculoskeletal lesions," the authors write, adding that only 80 cases of PA have been reported in the literature before.
Despite a penis not being present, the baby has "descended testes in well-formed scrotums". However, he had other problems not normally seen in patients with the condition. His medical team found that he had vesicorectal fistula – an abnormal connection between the bladder and rectum. He also had vesicoureteral reflux – when the flow of urine goes the wrong way – which caused urine to build up inside him outside of his bladder, requiring surgery.
The doctors believe he is the first patient with a combination of all three problems.
The patient was given surgery to correct the fistula, and was fitted with a catheter to drain his urine. He's been seen at one-month intervals since his admission to the hospital and is in relatively good health.
"The penis is an important organ in fertility, urinary and psychosexual structure of males," the team writes in the report. "Female gender reassignment with orchiectomy, along with urinary tract and genital reconstruction, has traditionally been recommended for this anomaly."
However, in this case, the doctors recommend that "penile reconstruction will be a good alternative for this patient".
People with the condition can go on to live otherwise normal lives. Last year, a man from the UK lost his virginity at 45 after being fitted with a bionic penis through a phalloplasty – a surgery that involved taking skin, muscle, and nerves from his back and arms and using it to mold a penis.