Social Issues

Egyptian women and genital mutilation

By Aya Ragheb and Pablo Perez

Cairo, Oct 4 (EFE).- Amira Mortada was 10 years old when she underwent female genital mutilation (FGM). Years later, her hopes of experiencing sexual pleasure surfaced when she found out that this damage could be healed.

By United Nations accounts, a staggering 87% of all Egyptian girls and women aged between 15 and 49 have had their genitals mutilated or cut, a cruel and internationally condemned practice that has been criminalized in the North African country since 2008. Worldwide, the UN reports that at least 200 million girls and women have been circumcised.

As she is about to turn 40, Mortada, a photojournalist and documentary filmmaker, thought it was useless to undergo a treatment that would allow her to regain clitoral sensitivity, but still decided to do it.

At Restore, the only health center offering physical and function treatment to FGM survivors in Egypt, Mortada finally saw a glimmer of hope.

“I have never had access to such information. For the first time, I felt that I can recover everything that I have lost for many years, that I am a human being and a person who deserves to feel sexual pleasure. I cannot even imagine what it is like to have an orgasm,” Mortada tells Efe.

Reham Awwad, a plastic surgeon and co-founder of Restore, explains that bodily pleasure has nothing to do with age or the biological clock and that all women have a right to have it.


Restore was founded in 2020 by Awwad and her colleague, Amr Seifeldin, who has worked in this field in Egypt for 24 years.

Without any institutional support, they are the only center that addresses this issue from a restorative and regenerative point of view in the entire Middle East and one of the few in Africa, where FGM is a prevalent ritual.

“Prevention is super important and should be a priority for Egypt and any other country suffering from this problem, but treatment is also a priority,” Awwad says.

“Women who have already suffered from it should have a place to go to get treated and live a normal life,” she adds.


What these patients need the most is a psychological treatment to regain the self-confidence they lost due to sexual problems, says Seifeldin.

Then assessing the damage they suffered during the mutilation, the surgeon explains, indicating that he is in favor of seeking alternative treatments to surgery in these cases.

If the damage is deep, Awwad says “surgery does not always help much, which is why we have resorted to regenerative aesthetic gynecology procedures, such as lasers, radiofrequency, platelet-rich plasma or fiber, stem cells…”

“We are the only clinic that treats female genital mutilation victims non-surgically,” she points out.

Only 40% of patients who come to the clinic end up requiring surgery.


Mortada decided to undergo surgery years ago, but she will not go for it until the end of October as she did not have enough money.

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