Hymenoplasty and virginity – an issue of socio-cultural morality and medical ethics

By Lee Seng Khoo and Vasco Senna-Fernandes

Hymenoplasty is a controversial surgical procedure that begets many ethical questions, in terms of social, cultural and medical issues. Virginity in females is a highly prized commodity in certain cultures and carries familial honour where non-virgins can face prejudice, social ostracisation and even death as they are considered to be bringing shame to the family. The notion of a ‘one size fits all’ approach in condemning or criticising hymenoplasty as a frivolous procedure that promotes deceit and encourages female oppression fails to identify socio-cultural aspects that are prevalent in the patient group seeking hymenoplasty. This paper explores...

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