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In Egypt 77 percent of FGM procedures, and in Indonesia over 50 percent, were performed by medical professionals as of 20.Women in Egypt reported in 1995 that a local anaesthetic had been used on their daughters in 60 percent of cases, a general anaesthetic in 13 percent and neither in 25 percent (two percent were missing/don't know).There have been international efforts since the 1970s to persuade practitioners to abandon FGM, and it has been outlawed or restricted in most of the countries in which it occurs, although the laws are poorly enforced.Since 2010 the United Nations has called upon healthcare providers to stop performing all forms of the procedure, including reinfibulation after childbirth and symbolic "nicking" of the clitoral hood.The WHO, UNICEF and UNFPA issued a joint statement in 1997 defining FGM as "all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs whether for cultural or other non-therapeutic reasons".

Typically carried out by a traditional circumciser using a blade, FGM is conducted from days after birth to puberty and beyond.The element of speed and surprise is vital and the circumciser immediately grabs the clitoris by pinching it between her nails aiming to amputate it with a slash.The organ is then shown to the senior female relatives of the child who will decide whether the amount that has been removed is satisfactory or whether more is to be cut off.The cutter is usually an older woman, but in communities where the male barber has assumed the role of health worker he will perform FGM too.Health professionals are often involved in Egypt, Kenya, Indonesia and Sudan.

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