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Rs20,000 to restore virginity

Either way, surgeons in Gujarat are set to cash in as the demand for hymenoplasty, the term for medical restoration of virginity, becomes rampant.

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AHMEDABAD: A scientific triumph or a regressive procedure that further compromises the position of women in conservative India? Either way, surgeons in Gujarat are set to cash in as the demand for hymenoplasty, the term for medical restoration of virginity, becomes rampant.

More and more women are queuing up for the surgical procedure that will restore their hymens and keep their virtue intact in the eyes of their future in-laws and husbands. Hymenoplasty had quietly begun eight years ago in this city, but now such surgeries are on the rise.

“Young Gujarati girls turn up with the sole intention of keeping their future in-laws under the illusion that they are virgins,’’ said cosmetic surgeon Hemant Saraiya.

Saraiya charges Rs.20,000 for restoration of the hymen. He described it as a simple surgery that wasn’t painful. “I operated on the first patient eight years ago, but five patients came during the last two years,” he said.

Plastic surgeon Bijal Parikh said that people were very inquisitive about the surgery although only two patients actually came to him for hymenoplasty.

“I get queries from Indians in the US and Britain. If the practice becomes a trend, we will strike gold,” Parikh said. “The surgery is much cheaper in India.” While Parikh and Saraiya look at the business aspect, there are many who are alarmed at what it portends.

Sociologist Gaurang Jani, for instance, holds medical professionals responsible for “not educating people” in order to profit from such a gender-biased operation.

“If hymenoplasty becomes a trend, it will provide our patriarchal set-up with a more conducive environment to retain old mindsets. Only the doctors will prosper,” he said.

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