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Don't criminalise designer vaginas urges surgeon Amir Nakhdjevani as government reviews female genital mutilation laws

By Claire McWethy

A surgeon is urging the government not to outlaw 'designer vaginas' as part of a review of female genital mutilation (FGM)

The call comes as the Crown Prosecution Service is considering whether doctors who perform the surgery – known as labiaplasty – are committing an offence under 1985 laws which prohibit FGM.

But cosmetic surgeon Amir Nakhdjevani says women should not be banned from making decisions about their own bodies, and says the procedures are commonly carried out to address low self-esteem or physical discomfort.

The CPS is considering whether designer vagina operations are unlawful. Stock image.

The CPS is considering whether designer vagina operations are unlawful. Stock image.

Mr Nakhdjevani, who works at the Bella Vou clinic in Tunbridge Wells, feels the publicity surrounding illegal FGM has clouded the government’s judgement.

He argues: “Women should be able to exercise their choice to have the procedure to overcome psychological and physical concerns, which can often have a profound impact on their lives and relationships."

The number of women opting for labiaplasty has trebled in the last 10 years, and more than 100 clinics offer the surgery in the UK. Mr Nakhdjevani performs at least one such operation every week.

He added: “The procedure is only carried out on adult women who choose to have it for medical or cosmetic reasons. It involves removing excess tissue from the labia – nothing else.

"FMG on the other hand is often inflicted on young women against their will for so-called (misguided) 'cultural' reasons or punishment and can involve the removal of the entire clitoris and labia, often by untrained individuals, leading to health problems and even death. The two should not be confused by the legal system. I deplore FGM.”

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