An Evidence-Based Appraisal

Historically circumcision has been a topic of emotive and often irrational debate. At least part of the reason is that a sex organ is involved. Another is that it concerns surgery on this part of the male anatomy. (Compare, for example, ear or body piercing, or tatooing.) Religion can also be a factor in some arguments.

In the USA circumcision has always been common amongst the majority Anglo-Celtic Whites and also amongst Afro-American Blacks. Australia similarly once conducted routine circumcision of all newborn boys. In both countries a down-turn took place after the mid-1970s, but is now rising again in each as the medical and health benefits are becoming better known.

The misinformation that produced the downtrend years ago is still embedded in the consciousness of some medical practitioners who hail from the 70s, and their protégés.

In fact there have even been reports of harassment by medical professionals (such as less well-informed midwives, nurses and doctors) of new mothers, especially those that can be more readily identified because they belong to religious groups that practice circumcision, in an attempt to stop them having this procedure carried out.

There has been a trend by pediatric bodies to skirt the truth in favor of what could be viewed as "New-Age political correctness", spurious "human rights" rhetoric, or perhaps fear of litigation stemming from the rare surgical mishap.

The policy statements of professional pediatric bodies have been misused by others as part of an “appeal to authority” fallacy [Govier, 1997], which is often used as a substitute for supplying an actual argument.

The bodies themselves also see a trend and copy it so that the statements of one of them can be seen to then trigger a “bandwagon” response. Those who write the policy statements are often physicians with little or no academic expertise. Not surprisingly, they have been criticized by academic experts, as discussed below.


Circumcision history and recent trends.

Circumcision Info

What is circumcision?
Who in the world gets circumised?
The circumcision debate.
Circumcision history and recent trends.
Position statements by national pediatric bodies.
Why the foreskin increases infection risk.
Circumcision - 'shapshot' of health benefits + reviews.
Different specialists see different things.
Circumcision - benefits outweigh the risks.
Pain and memory.
Penile hygiene.
What motivates parents to baby boy circumcision.
Rates of circumcision.
Physical problems.
Inflammatory dermatoses.
Urinary tract infections.
Sexually transmitted infections.
Cancer of the penis.
Prostate cancer.
Cervical cancer in female partners of uncircumcised men.
Breast cancer in female partners of uncircumcised men.
Herpes simplex type 2 virus in women.
Chlamydia in women.
Trichomonas in women.
Bacterial vaginosis in women.
HIV: the AIDS virus.
Circumcision Socio-sexual aspects.
Circumcision - sensitivity, sensation & sexual function.
Circumcision - societal class distinction.
Circumcision prevents infibulation.
Circumcision procedure.
Circumcision & Anesthesia.
Cost of the Circumcision procedure.
Cost benefit of Circumcision.
Circumcision - how do I find someone to do it?.
Circumcision - whose responsibility?
Risks in infants.
Circumcision - risks in adults & older boys.
Circumcision - breastfeeding outcomes and cognitive ability.
Circumcision, does it affect penis length?
Circumcision - why are human males born with a foreskin?
Circumcision - best not to delay til later.
Circumcision - what caused many cultures to ritually remove the foreskin?
In Alphabetical Order
(A – I)(J – R)(S – Z)
Brochures, circumcision information guide.
Anti Circumcision
Anti-circumcision lobby groups.
Links & Resources
Circumcision websites & online discussion groups.
BOOK: "In Favour of Circumcision".
About the Author - Professor Emeritus Brian J. Morris.
Adult circumcision stories - testimonials and more.
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