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1995 World Health Organization (WHO) Classification of FGM

The following WHO definition and classification of FGM is from page six of "Female Genital Mutilation: Report of a WHO Technical Working Group, Geneva, 17-19 July 1995." World Health Organization: Geneva. 1996.

The report may be ordered from the Documentation Centre, Family and Reproductive Health, WHO, CH-1211, Geneva, 27-Switzerland. One copy of the report is supplied to requesters free of charge. Requests for multiple copies are considered on an individual basis. Documents are normally shipped by surface mail so specify by airmail if so desired. The WHO "Female Genital Mutilation: Information Kit" may also be requested from the above address. An updated version of the kit will be available by the end of the year. Currently, the kit is free but this may change.

An earlier version of the WHO Definition and Classification of FGM included "introcision" as one of the examples of Type IV, but was removed during the Technical Working Group discussions. So the definition quoted below is the latest version.


Female Genital Mutilation comprises all procedures that involve partial or total removal of female external genitalia and/or injury to the female genital organs for cultural or any other non-therapeutic reason.


Type I Excision of the prepuce with or without excision of part or all of the clitoris
Type II Excision of the clitoris together with partial or total excision of the labia minora
Type III Excision of part or all of the external genitalia and stitiching/narrowing of the vaginal opening (infibulation)
Type IV Unclassified:  
- Pricking, piercing or incision of the clitoris and/or labia  
- Stretching of the clitoris and/or labia  
- Cauterization by burning of the clitoris and surrounding tissue  
- Introcision  
- Scraping (angurya cuts) or cutting (gishri cuts) of the vagina or surrounding tissue  
- Introduction of corrosive substances or herbs into the vagina  
- Any other pprocedure that falls under the definition of female genital mutilation given above.