The Courier-Mail

Study tries for pri­vate re­sponses

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WHAT should a woman look like down be­low? It’s a ques­tion re­searchers are try­ing to an­swer fol­low­ing a 140 per cent in­crease in Medi­care claims for fe­male gen­i­tal surgery in a decade.

They are ask­ing 1000 men and women about their at­ti­tudes, and what they think is nor­mal, as con­cerns build that taxpayers may be pay­ing for de­signer vagi­nas.

A re­cent Flin­ders Univer­sity sur­vey found al­most one in five women were in­ter­ested in a labi­aplasty, with doc­tors asked to per­form the surgery on girls as young as 13.

In­ter­net porn, which is gov­erned by laws that re­quire Pho­to­shop­ping of im­ages, have been blamed for mis­con­cep­tions about what is nor­mal.

The num­ber of Medi­care claims for fe­male gen­i­tal surgery grew by 140 per cent from 640 cases in 2000, to 1565 claims in 2011. Cos­metic surgery is not cov­ered by Medi­care, and some of these cases would be re­pairs af­ter in­jury, ac­ci­dents or sex changes.

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