Circumcision Information Summary
What You Need to Know
- No national or international medical association recommends routine circumcision.
- Only the USA circumcises the majority of newborn boys without medical or
- Medicalized circumcision began during the 1800s to prevent masturbation, which
was believed to cause disease.
- Today's parents are learning that the foreskin is a normal, protective,
- Today's parents realize circumcision harms and has unnecessary risks.
- Circumcision denies a male's right to genital integrity and choice for
his own body.
The Facts Behind Circumcision
Newborn male circumcision is the most common surgical procedure
performed in the U.S. It's a common misconception that there are
tangible to male circumcision, but the truth is no
medical society in the world recommends it. This invasive procedure
carries serious risks, including infection, hemorrhage, surgical
mishap, and death, as well many ethical considerations. Yet, despite these risks, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and
the Academy of Pediatrics () are developing public health
recommendations that could mislead more parents into agreeing to circumcision for their newborn baby boys. Intact America is demanding that these organizations issue a truthful statement on the risks and harms of newborn male circumcision.
Check out our myths & facts section and get the facts behind circumcision!
Please read these facts before making a circumcision
- Worldwide prevalence: Over 80% of the world's males are
intact. Most circumcised males are Muslims. No national medical organization
in the world recommends routine circumcision of male infants. (See Circumcision Policies in English-Speaking Countries.)
- Pain: According to a comprehensive study, newborn
responses to pain are "similar to but greater than those observed in adult
subjects." Circumcision is extremely painful and traumatic. Some infants do
not cry because they go into traumatic shock from the overwhelming pain of the
surgery. No experimental anesthetic has been found to be safe and effective in
preventing circumcision pain in infants. (See Infant
Responses to Circumcision.)
- Behavioral response: Various studies have found that
short-term effects of circumcision include changed sleep patterns, activity
level, and mother-infant interaction, more irritability, and disruptions in
feeding and bonding. Long-term effects have not been studied. Changes in pain
response have been demonstrated at six months of age. (See Infant Responses to Circumcision.)
- Circumcision risks: The rate of complications occurring
in the hospital and during the first year has been documented as high as 38%
and includes hemorrhage, infection, surgical injury, and in rare cases, death.
- Cleanliness: The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
says that "there is little evidence to affirm the association between
circumcision status and optimal penile hygiene." "The uncircumcised penis is
easy to keep clean. . . . Caring for your son's uncircumcised penis requires
no special action. . . . Foreskin retraction should never be forced."
- Sexually transmitted diseases: According to the AAP,
"Evidence regarding the relationship of circumcision to sexually transmitted
diseases in general is complex and conflicting. . . . Behavioral factors
appear to be far more important risk factors." (See Explaining Claims of Medical Benefits.)
- Matching friends: The 2009 national circumcision rate is
32.5%, less than 25% in some states. Though past circumcision rates were
higher, there is no documented emotional harm to intact boys. To the contrary,
there are growing reports from men who have disliked being circumcised since
they were boys, even though they were in the majority.
- Adult circumcision: The medical need for circumcision in
adults is as low as 6 in 100,000. Adults, unlike infants, receive anesthetics.
- Foreskin function and size: The foreskin protects the
head of the penis, enhances sexual pleasure, and facilitates intercourse. Men
circumcised as adults report a significant loss of sensitivity. Men who have
restored their foreskin report much increased sensitivity and sexual pleasure.
The foreskin on the average adult male is about 12 sq.in. of highly erogenous
- Jewish circumcision: A growing number of American Jews
are not circumcising their sons. Circumcision among Jews in Europe, South
America, and Israel also is not universal.
- American origin: Routine infant circumcision started in
the U.S. in the 1870s when it was promoted as a preventive cure for
- Male attitude: Male satisfaction with circumcision
depends on lack of knowledge about circumcision. The more men know, the more
likely they are to be dissatisfied. They wish they had a choice.
- Professional Protest: Some aware doctors and nurses
refuse to perform or assist with circumcisions because of ethical
considerations. (See Circumcision, Ethics, and