Real Life

Real life: The man born without a penis

Andrew Wardle knew that losing his virginity would take a miracle

By As told to Take 5

Throughout his younger years, while Andrew Wardle's mates were going through the trials and tribulations of puberty – like those dreaded uncontrollable erections – it was his lack of erection that was his problem.

In fact, it was the lack of anything down there that was the issue.

Andrew from Manchester, UK, was born with bladder exstrophy, a one-in-20-million condition in which his bladder formed outside of the body.

The rare defect also meant he didn't have a penis and just one testicle.

Life was tough from the start.

Rejected by his biological parents because of his unique abnormality, Andrew spent years in foster care before finally being adopted as a teenager.

As a child, surgery to move his bladder inside his body was successful and a tube from his bladder to an artificial opening, called a stoma, was created in his urinary system to enable him to pee.

Andrew was adopted as a teenager.
Andrew was adopted as a teenager.

"My whole life was operation after operation after operation," Andrew remembers.

"My school friends didn't know what was wrong, but they knew I was different because I always had bandages on me. I got adept in the changing rooms. I was a genius at getting changed, like a burlesque dancer!"

However, countless hospital appointments dominated his youth and Andrew missed out on a lot of schooling.

He dropped out of studies at the first opportunity, and found a job at a butcher's and an abattoir.

Still, feeling outcast and dejected, he rebelled and turned to drugs trying to ease his pain and embarrassment.

Andrew was a good-looking bloke and gathered a reputation as a party boy.

It was the perfect decoy.

When all his mates were losing their virginity, he ensured his long list of girlfriends had no idea about his absent appendage because he was wasted all the time.

It was the fail-safe excuse for not being able to get it out for the ladies.

He knew he couldn't keep up the facade forever but dozens of medical experts all led him to the same conclusion – nothing could be done about his missing manhood.

After years of heartache it seemed Andrew's problems were nearly over.
Photo by Nick Edwards for Mail Online
After years of heartache it seemed Andrew's problems were nearly over.
Photo by Nick Edwards for Mail Online

"It hit me that it was going to be a real problem in the future," Andrew said.

"I began to get pretty dark days and cried myself to sleep. Everyone around me was planning to get a job, get married and have kids and I could see no future."

As depression bubbled inside and dark thoughts haunted him, Andrew attempted to take his life twice.

First when he was in his teens and then again as an adult.

It was shortly after his second attempt – a desperate cry for help – that Andrew moved to Thailand to escape.

Then one day while walking along the beach he had an epiphany.

An old, homeless lady was lounging in a hammock without a care in the world and brimming with happiness.

It dawned on Andrew that if she could be so content with the odds stacked against her then surely, he could be, too.

His dark thoughts and feelings subsided and he returned home with a renewed positive outlook.

Soon after, Andrew received a breakthrough when his GP referred him to new urologist, Dan Wood in London.

Dr Wood's words were life-changing.

He said he could build Andrew a new bladder and his colleague, David Ralph – also a urologist and specialist in genital reconstruction – could make him a member!

He'd waited for this for years.
Photo by Nick Edwards for Mail Online
He'd waited for this for years.
Photo by Nick Edwards for Mail Online

Finally, Andrew would feel normal and as a bonus, it also meant he could lose his virginity to his long-term girlfriend, Fedra Fabian, who'd supported and accepted him from when they first met.

Over the course of four years Andrew underwent seven pioneering surgeries to reconstruct his bladder but more amazingly, build him a bionic penis.

At the very first inflation, Andrew had an erection for 10 days before it was deflated.

He then had to endure six weeks of recovery before the 44-year-old virgin could use his new tool to consummate his love with his girlfriend.

"I've spent 44 years without a penis," he said. "It'll take me a while to get into the swing of things."

Andrew's premium private parts cost nearly $90,000 and according to a surgeon in the US, he's got the world's most expensive member!

But although Andrew's excited about the next sexual chapter in his life, it's not the be all and end all for him.

His new penis means waving goodbye to years of depression and medical issues and finally being able to move on.

"A lot of people think it's about sex but it's not, it's about relationships and life," he says. "It will enable me to feel part of society."

Here's how the docs did it...

First, Andrew needed bladder correctional surgery – an operation to remove his urostomy bag.

This was a pouch where his urine was collected when it passed through the stoma, created when he was a child.

He then underwent a procedure that would mean he could go to the toilet properly.

To create Andrew's new penis, he had a phalloplasty operation where a vein was taken from his right leg, and skin, muscles and nerves from his left arm were also used.

To replace the missing chunks of arm tissue, Andrew had a bum lift.

And as for the length and girth… well, lucky for Andrew, he had a healthy forearm to give him a more than adequately sized member.

A successful skin graft was vital.
A successful skin graft was vital.

The skin was then rolled and wrapped around the vein to look like a penis, before it was surgically attached to Andrew's body.

After a three-year delay due to abdominal complications, the final stages of his penile implant could be conducted.

This involved a reservoir of saline fluid being inserted into the left side of his abdomen, plus a hollow tube in his penis and a 'pump and release' valve in his scrotum.

The valve, operated by a button in his scrotum, when pressed allows the saline fluid to flow into the hollow tube and create erections on demand.

You think that's bad, this man had his penis bitten by a python hiding in his toilet.

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