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Symphysiotomy (pronounced \sim(p)-fə-zē-ˈät-ə-mē\, SIN-fis-eoh-otah-me) is a piece of gynaecological surgery, which during the birth of a baby the cartridge in a woman's pelvis is purposefully sawed and then broken apart. This procedure is done so that it helps in the delivery of the child from the mother is giving birth. Naturally, this procedure is only done in extreme circumstances where delivery of the baby become very difficult for the mother. Like all surgeries, especially in all such delicate operations, can lead to severe complications for the mother.

The procedure of symphysiotomy first came about at the end of the 16th century, as a way to help in childbirth. By the mid-twentieth-century, the procedure was seen as old-fashioned and dangerous, and obstetricians were switching to much safer caesarian sections. The only major disadvantage was that women who had caesareans were more likely not to have any further children, as the operation could damage female's reproductive organs leaving them infertile.

The procedure come in focus when many Irish women who had given birth between the late 1940s to the mid-1980s, discovered that they received this piece of surgery against their will and without their consent. As been mentioned earlier, caesareans were possible but they could have been seen as a form of conception. Ireland at the time was very deeply Roman Catholic country, and many women were expected to have large families. Many traditional forms of conception were banned or near-impossible to get, like the condom and the diaphragm. Absurdly, similarly deeply religious countries like Italy and Spain had no problems in giving out the caesareans despite the infertility worries.

The first push for such use of the symphysiotomy procedure was at St Mary's Maternity Hospital in Dublin under the auspices of the resident car

Nevertheless, some women who had the surgery have suffered later on from severe complications, including permeant diarrhoea and bladder weakness, joint and muscle pain, dead legs, unequal leg length, even ironically inability to have further children.