Routine Infant Circumcision
Routine Infant Circumcision
Routine Infant Circumcision is performed because it has many health benefits. Routine Infant Circumcision has no health benefits and is performed for cosmetic, social reasons.
Truth: Routine Infant Circumcision, or RIC, has no proven health benefits, though the American Academy of Pediatrics acknowledges that there might be some potential benefits. The AAP and other medical organisations consider RIC to be a cosmetic social custom rather than a necessary surgery.
RIC is not painful; anesthesia is used and even still it happens very quickly, and is just a snip. RIC is painful. The anesthesia does not give adequate pain relief and is only used by a small percentage of doctors.
Truth: While an infant's foreskin is considerably smaller than an adult foreskin, studies show that the procedure is more painful for infants. One reason for this is that the foreskin on an infant is fused to the glans of the penis and must be torn free in order to be removed. In adults, the foreskin is no longer fused. Also, adults may use stronger painkillers during and after the procedure, which infants do not receive due to the risks of anesthesia on infants. Studies indicate that only 4% of infants actually receive anesthesia because the risks it brings.
RIC lessens the chance of urinary tract infections. RIC is a dramatic way to treat an infection, when it can be treated with antibiotics.
Truth: According to some studies, circumcision decreases the risk of UTIs in the first year of life. Studies are, however, very conflicting. Most studies show little or no statistical difference. Also, the risk of UTIs in males is extremely low and can be treated safely with antibiotics.
Circumcised males are more visually appealing, and will not have to worry about getting made fun of in the locker room, or by a girlfriend. Teach self esteem, not surgery.
Truth: In America, circumcised males were more common, and studies show that among women, cut men were viewed as more appealing. However, in recent years, the rates between children that are cut and intact are very similar, showing that intact males will not be in the minority in the future. In the rest of the world, intact men are valued more and are in the majority. Over 80% of the world's males are intact.
Children are often circumcised so they will look like their fathers. Male infants do not need penises that "look like" their fathers.
Truth: Studies show that male children neither know or care about the circumcision status of their father.
Circumcision lowers STD rates and the rate of cervical cancer in women. Circumcision is NOT protection against these things.
Truth: Studies are very conflicting on these issues. The American Cancer Society says that circumcision is not a valid way to protect against either of these problems, and does not lessen risk. Both can be prevented with safe sex or abstinence.
Circumcision lowers the risk of penile cancer. Penile cancer is very rare and treatable for uncut men.
Truth: In America, circumcision is correlated with a lower risk of penile cancer. However, in many countries it is associated with a higher risk, indicating that circumcision has little to do with penile cancer rates and that factors such as smoking and sexual habits are the important issues. Also, if an intact man has penile cancer on his foreskin, he will be circumcised as treatment. If a cut man gets penile cancer, his penis will be partially or completely amputated.
The benefits or circumcision outweigh the risks. There are no benefits; only risks.
Truth: There are no proven benefits of circumcision. Some possible benefits, such as protection from infection or from penile cancer are counteracted by the risks: a child is just as likely to get an infection from a circumcision wound as there are from a UTI, and is just as likely to die from penile cancer as he is from circumcision complications.
Circumcision does not affect sexual function. Circumcision severely hinders sexual function
Truth: While one study suggests that there is no sensitivity difference, circumcision removes the thousands of nerves, including the frenulum, which is the most sensitive part of the male body. Also, without the protection of the foreskin, the glans kernatises over the years to protect from abrasion, burying nerves under up to 10 layers of lightly callused skin. The foreskin's gliding mechanism during intercourse is lost upon circumcision.
Doctors would not support RIC if it wasn't necessary or healthy. Doctors support RIC for the money that they make from it.
Truth: Most doctors do not support RIC and all admit it is not medically necessary; America is the only country that routinely circumcises infants. Whether these doctors do it for monetary reasons is debatable; most claim that they do it because there is a demand to circumcision for social reasons.
Infants will not remember being circumcised Even though infants will not remember the trauma, RIC is still a violation of their rights.
Truth: Infants will not remember being circumcised, but several recent studies suggest that there is a high correlation between Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and circumcision. Furthermore, even babies that appear to "sleep" through circumcision show elevated heart rate, blood pressure, difficulty breathing and bodily stress, indicating that the sleep-reaction may in-fact be shock, which can cause lasting effects on an infants body and mind.
No man in his right mind would ever complain about being circumcised, though many intact men chose to get cut. It is better to have the choice that an intact man has, than to not have the choice, the way an unhappily cut man does.
Truth: Most intact men do NOT chose to get cut later; the circumcision rate among intact men is less than .5% percent in America. In other countries, it is even lower. Also, due to recent information about circumcision, there is a large movement of cut men seeking to restore their lost foreskin through non-surgical and surgical methods. There are no statistics on this underground movement, though the network contains several mailing lists each with nearly a thousand members, and a recent book about restoration sold over 20,000 copies. There are also currently several lawsuits from men who are upset at being circumcised without their consent as infants.

A while back, I wrote an essay on the ethics of routine male circumcision (the edited version may be found here). During my search for sources in writing this paper, I found very few pro-circumcision sources because so few doctors recommend the procedure today.

Despite that, many Americans are still very much for Routine Infant Circumcision. This is my page outlining both the pro and con arguments for the procedure, followed by a brief on the truth of the situation.

It is true I do not support the procedure. However, I feel that the best way to change the minds of these parents who support the procedure is through education rather than name-calling. This is my attempt to offer that educational information.

My sources for the summary at right are listed belong the links.

- Heather


• Mothering Magazine: A Case Against Circumcision
• C-Health: The Unkindest Cut
• CNN: Circumcision Study halted due to trauma
• CNN: Pediatricians Turn Away From Circumcision
• Circumcision Resource Center: Various Recent Studies
• CRC: Study on Men Circumcised as Adults
• CRC: Circumcision Complications
• CRC: Circumcision Video
• BJU International: Study on Circumcision's affect on female partner
• PR-Web: Circumcision Causes Lifelong Harm
• American Cancer Society: Penile Cancer

• American Cancer Society: Letter to AAP
• American Academy of Pediatrics: Position on Circumcision
• HCIA: Decrease in Circumcision Rates
• CIRP: Study on Circumcision Rates in America


AAP News Release – New AAP Circumcision Policy Released. 1 March 1999. AAP. 8 April 2002. <>.

Board of Directors. Policy Statements | Urological Services. February 1998. American Urological Association, Inc. 8 April 2002 <>.

Bollinger, Dan. Normal Versus Circumcised: Male Neonatal Genital Ratio. 13 November 2000. CIRP. 8 April 2002. <>.

Boss, Judith A. Ethics for Life, second ed. California: Mayfield Publishing, 2001.

Chessare, John B. Circumcision: Is the Risk of Urinary Tract Infection Really the Pivotal Issue? 10 May 1990. Medical College of Ohio. <>.

Circumcision and Sexuality. 8 April 2002. <>.

Circumcision Positions of Advocates and Critics. Circumcision Resource Center. 8 April 2002. <>.

Circumcision to Look Like Others. Circumcision Resource Center. 8 April 2002.

Committee on Bioethics. Female Genital Mutilation (RE9749). July 1998. American Academy of Pediatrics. 8 April 2002. <>.

Complications of Circumcision. Intactivist. 8 April 2002. <>.

Explaining the Claims of Medical Benefits. Circumcision Resource Center. 8 April 2002.

Falk, Geoffrey. Circumcision and Urinary Tract Infection. 2000. CIRP. 20 April 2002.

Fliess, Paul M. The Case Against Circumcision. Winter 1997. Mothering Magazine. 8 April 2002. <>.

Frequently Askes <sic> Questions. ACT inc. 8 April 2002. <http://www.act-now/contents/faqs.htm>.

General Circumcision Information. Circumcision Resource Center. 8 April 2002. <>.

Gifford-Jones, Dr. Circumcision, the unkindest cut. 4 March 2002. C-Health. 8 April 2002. <>.

Infant Male Circumcision Fact Sheet. 20 April 2002. <>.

Jenkins, Mark. Separated at Birth: Did Circumcision Ruin Your Sex Life? July/August 1998. Men’s Health. 8 April 2002. <>.

Larratt, Shannon. Anesthetic Allergy: BME Risks. 2002. BME. 8 April 2002.

Lisi, Clemente Angelo. “Circumcision No Longer Automatic in Jewish Households.” The Grand Rapids Press. 2 May 1998: B-3

Men Circumcised as Adults. Circumcision Resource Center. 8 April 2002.

Morris, Brian. Medical Benefits from Circumcision. 3 March 1999. University of New South Wales. 8 April 2002 <>.

O’Hara, K. and J. The effect of male circumcision on the sexual enjoyment of the female partner. 1 January 1999. BJU International. 8 April 2002. <>.

Rebuttal to: Medical Benefits from Circumcision. Intactivism. 4 April 2002

Recent Medical Studies on Circumcision. Circumcision Resource Center. 8 April 2002.

Salvatore, Dr. Steve. Circumcision study halted due to trauma: CNN. 23 December 1997. CNN. 8 April 2002. <>.

Task for on Circumcision. AAP Circumcision Policy Released. 1 March 1999. American Academy of Pediatrics. 8 April 2002. <>.

Taylor, J. et al., “The Prepuce: Specialized Mucosa of the Penis and Its Loss to Circumcision,” BJU 77 (1996): 291-295.

The penis and foreskin: Preputial anatomy and sexual function. CIRP. 8 April 2002.

What Are the Risk Factors for Penile Cancer? American Cancer Society. 8 April 2002.

Why Most Circumcised Men Seem Satisfied. Circumcision Resource Center. 8 April 2002.