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Symphysiotomy compensation agreed in Republic of Ireland

Pregnant woman Image copyright PA
Image caption Symphysiotomy was a controversial procedure that involved widening a woman's pelvis during childbirth

The Irish government has agreed a redress scheme for women who underwent symphysiotomy.

Symphysiotomy is the surgical procedure to break the pelvis during childbirth to allow a baby to be born.

The fund for the compensation scheme is 34m euros (£27m) and three levels of compensation will be available.

Depending on the severity of the injury, women will receive either 50,000 euros (£40,000), 100,000 euros (£80,000) or 150,000 euros (£120,000).

Compensation will be paid on an ex-gratia basis without admission of liability on the part of the State.

The procedure was performed on around 1,500 women from the 1920s to 1984.

Around 250 women who had the procedure are still alive today.

A report published on the practice of symphysiotomy said that an Irish mother with a contracted pelvis at the time did not have the option of limiting her family through artificial contraception.

Symphysiotomy was still carried out at a hospital in Drogheda up to 1984, years after it had ceased being performed in other hospitals.

The procedure was replaced by Caesarean Section.

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