I'm amazed at the number of sophisticated, educated, international (but almost always American or Canadian) parents that I come across overseas who choose to circumcise their son.
All true globetrotter parents should be aware of the following facts about circumcision.
- Most men in the world and the great majority of men in Europe, Central and South America and Asia are not circumcised. Only 10 to 15 percent of men throughout the world are circumcised, the majority of whom are Muslim.
- Routine infant circumcision was introduced in the United States in the 1800s to prevent masturbation. Victorian doctors knew that circumcision desensitized the penis.
- No medical association anywhere in the world supports non-therapeutic neonatal circumcision (male or female) on medical grounds or "hygenic" grounds.
- The claim that male circumcision protects against HIV is based on studies in Africa. In Uganda, researchers began with a total of 4,996 men and randomly divided them into two groups, circumcising one group (2,474 men) and leaving the other group (2,522 men) intact. After 24 months, both groups were tested for HIV. Of the circumcised men, 22 tested positive (0.9 percent). 45 men in the uncircumcised group (1.8 percent) tested positive. Of all the participants, a total of 1.3 percent tested HIV positive; the other 98.7 percent remained HIV-negative. Despite these tiny percentages, researchers derived a 55 percent risk-prevention figure from the difference in results between the two groups.
- Similarly, the Kenyan trials began with 2,784 men and randomly divided them, with 1,391 undergoing circumcision and 1,391 left intact. Two years later, testing showed 22 new infections among the circumcised men (1.6 percent) and 47 among those left intact (3.3 percent).
- Circumcision is by no means akin to a vaccine against HIV-AIDS. Claiming that circumcision prevents HIV-AIDS is irresponsible and gives rise to a false (and dangerous) sense of security.
- The United States has the highest rate of medically unnecessary, non-therapeutic infant circumcision in the world and yet the HIV infection rate in North America is twice the rate in Europe.
- Circumcision offers no protection at all to gay men.
- Every normal human being is born with a foreskin. In females, it protects the glans of the clitoris; in males, it protects the glans of the penis.
- Before the foreskin can be cut (or crushed) off, it has to be torn away from the glans. This act is akin to ripping your fingernails off your fingers.
- Circumcision removes 50% of the skin of the penis. Depending on the foreskin's length, cutting it off makes the penis as much as 25 percent shorter. Circumcision cuts off more than 3 feet of veins, arteries, and capillaries, 240 feet of nerves, and more than 20,000 nerve endings. The foreskin's muscles, glands, mucous membrane, and epithelial tissue are destroyed, as well.
- Circumcision removes the most sensitive part of the penis.
- Circumcision reduces sexual pleasure. The foreskin slides up and down on the shaft, stimulating the glans by alternately covering and exposing it. No additional lubrication is needed. Without the foreskin, the glans skin, which is normally moist mucous membrane, becomes dry and thickens as a result of continual exposure, thus reducing its sensitivity.
- One of the most common myths about circumcision is that it makes the penis cleaner and easier to care for. This is not true. The glans of the circumcised penis are subject to abrasion and exposed to dirt and bacteria, leaving the urinary tract vulnerable to infection.
Please, if you're having a baby boy, inform yourself before you decide to circumcise.
The Case Against Circumcision
The Truth About Circumcision and HIV
Policy Statement of Doctors Opposing Circumcision