Here are some facts regarding circumcision that most parents are unaware of, and some websites and many physicians fail to mention. We thought you should know them.

  • About 117 boys die each year in the United States as a result of their circumcision, most from infections or blood loss.1
  • The U.S. circumcision rate is steadily declining. In 2002 it was 65%, 56% in 2006, 54.5% in 2009,2 and 32% in 2010.3
  • Circumcision is a heated issue, and the circumcision controversy has become a full-fledged human rights movement, making it even more important that parents become better informed.
  • Most physicians do not have their sons circumcised.4 Why not, if circumcision is medically advisable? Since most have performed the surgery as part of their training, they are the ones who should know more about its consequences than anyone else.
  • Physicians are biased toward circumcision. Circumcised doctors are 5 times more likely to recommend circumcision to patients.5
  • Contrary to frequent claims, infants do feel pain as intensely as adults, and very possibly even more.6
  • Painful newborn procedures—including circumcision—should be avoided in order to prevent long-term psychological and physiological consequences.7
  • Circumcision regularly removes a shocking 3/4 of the penis’ sensitivity through the removal of the ridged band, foreskin “lips,” and most often the entire frenulum.8
  • Anesthesia is used in only 45% of circumcisions; the type of anesthetic varies.9 The most effective method does not eliminate all pain, and the most common type used, a topical creme, does almost nothing to reduce it. In fact, a major clinical test of the various types of anesthetics, on actual infants, was halted for humane reasons because of the intense pain.10
  • As adults, men circumcised in infancy are almost 5 times more likely to be diagnosed with erectile dysfunction (ED).11 12
  • Circumcised men and boys are 60% more likely to suffer from alexithymia, a psychological trait disorder which causes difficulty in identifying and expressing one’s emotions, which can lead to difficulties in sustaining relationships.13
  • 5.1% of boys will have significant complications,14 and the rate can be as high as 55% for all complications.15 Meatal stenosis (narrowing of the urinary opening) is found in 20% of circumcised boys.16 The average male will have more health problems from being circumcised than from being left alone.17
  • Circumcision has never been proven to be effective in either reducing or treating cervical cancer, penile cancer, urinary tract infections, or sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS.18
  • Not one medical association in America, or anywhere else in the world, recommends infant circumcision; some even recommend against it.19 At no time in its 75 years has the American Academy of Pediatrics ever recommended infant circumcision.

This information has been reviewed by our panel of experts and other trusted advisors, however, it is not a substitute for professional medical, legal, or spiritual advice.

  1. Bollinger, D. Lost Boys: An Estimate of U.S. Circumcision-Related Infant Deaths. Thymos: J Boyhood Studies, 2010;4(1), 78-90.
  2. CDC. Trends in in-hospital newborn male circumcision—United States, 1999-2010. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2011;60:1167-1168.
  3. El Bcheraoui C, Greenspan J, Kretsinger K, Chen R. Rates of selected neonatal male circumcision-associated severe adverse events in the United States, 2007-2009 (CDC). Proceedings, AIDS 2010, Vienna, Austria. 5 Aug 2010.
  4. Topp, S. (1978, January). Why not to circumcise your baby boy. Mothering, 6, 69-77.
  5. Muller AJ. To cut or not to cut? Personal factors influence primary care physicians’ position on elective newborn circumcision. J Mens Health, 2010;7(3): 227–232.
  6. Anand KJS, for the International Evidence-Based Group for Neonatal Pain. Consensus statement for the prevention and management of pain in the newborn. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2001;155:173-80.
  7. Page GG. Are There Long-Term Consequences of Pain in Newborn or Very Young Infants? J Perinat Educ. 2004;13(3):10-17.
  8. Sorrells ML, Snyder ML, Reiss MD, Eden C, Milos MF, Wilcox N, Van Howe RS. Fine-touch pressure thresholds in the adult penis. BJU Int. 2007;99:864-9.
  9. Stang HJ, Snellman LW. Circumcision Practice Patterns in the United States. Pediatrics. 1998;101(6):e5.
  10. Lander J, Brady-Fryer B, Metcalfe JB, Nazarali S, Muttitt S. Comparison of ring block, dorsal penile nerve block, and topical anesthesia for neonatal circumcision. JAMA. 1997;278:2158-62.
  11. Bollinger, D., Van Howe, R. S. (2010). Alexithymia and Circumcision Trauma: A Preliminary Investigation (in press).
  12. Tang WS, Khoo EM. Prevalence and correlates of premature ejaculation in a primary care setting: A preliminary cross-sectional study. J Sex Med, 14 Apr 2011.
  13. Bollinger, D., Van Howe, R. S. (2010). Alexithymia and Circumcision Trauma: A Preliminary Investigation (in press).
  14. Thorup J, Thorup SC, Ifaoui1IBR. Complication rate after circumcision in a paediatric surgical setting should not be neglected. Dan Med J. 2013;60(8):1–3.
  15. Patel H. The problem of routine infant circumcision. Can Med Assoc J. 1966;95:576-81.
  16. Joudi M, Fathi M, Hiradfar M. Incidence of asymptomatic meatal stenosis in children following neonatal circumcision J Ped Urol. 2011;7(5):526-8.
  17. Van Howe RS. A cost-utility analysis of neonatal circumcision. Med Decis Making. 2004;24:584-601.
  18. Van Howe RS. A cost-utility analysis of neonatal circumcision. Med Decis Making. 2004;24:584-601.
  19. CIRP. Medical organization official policy statements. Available online at: http://www.cirp.org/library/statements/