What is circumcision?
Circumcision is the surgical removal of the foreskin—a double layer of skin that normally covers the head of the penis. Routine circumcision means cutting off the foreskin of a newborn boy with a normal foreskin and penis.
Is circumcision necessary?
No. Routine circumcision is not medically necessary. No professional medical association in the United States (or the rest of the world) recommends routine circumcision as a medical procedure. Circumcision is neither required by law nor by hospital policy. However, circumcision is sometimes performed as a cultural practice by some groups or religions.
Why is the foreskin there?
The foreskin is a normal, sensitive, functional part of the body. In infant boys, the foreskin is attached to the head of the penis (glans) and protects it from urine, feces, and irritation. Throughout life, the foreskin keeps the glans soft and moist and protects it from injury. The foreskin also has a role in sexual pleasure, due to its specialized nerve endings and to its natural lubricating function. The foreskin is natural.
How did it get started?
Doctors began circumcising boys in the late 1800s, because they thought it would keep boys from masturbating (some people mistakenly believed that masturbation was harmful). Over the years, circumcision was said to prevent various diseases, but these claims have been found either to be mistaken or to be exaggerated.
Does it prevent problems?
Circumcision may slightly reduce the chance of boys getting urinary tract infections, but such infections are easily treated with oral antibiotics, just as they are in girls. The role of circumcision in preventing sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) has also been investigated. However, only abstinence or use of condoms can prevent STDs, including HIV or AIDS. Therefore, circumcision cannot be responsibly recommended as a way of preventing disease.
Is circumcision painful?
Yes, circumcision is very painful. Babies are sensitive to pain, just like older children and adults. Studies cited by the AAP show that baby boys experience extreme pain during the surgery. Unfortunately, most infant circumcisions are still performed without any pain relief. The pain–killers used for circumcision only decrease pain; they do not eliminate it.
What are the complications?
As with any surgery, complications can occur with circumcision. Abnormal bleeding and infection of the penis are the most common complications. Other complications include removal of too much skin, removal of part or all of the penis, scarring, and widespread infection.
How is circumcision done?
The baby is placed on his back and strapped onto a padded board. If an anesthetic cream is used, it must be applied one hour before the surgery to be effective. If an injection is used, it is given after the baby is placed on the board. An antiseptic is applied to the baby’s penis and surrounding area. A metal instrument is then used to forcibly separate the foreskin from the head of the penis, and the foreskin is cut off. This operation takes up to fifteen minutes.
Articles on Circumcision
Raising Intact Boys
Protect your Intact Boy [link]
Intact Care Agreement [link]
Fathering Magazine [link]
Raising Intact Sons [link]
The Whole News [link]
Another Intact Care Article [link]
Function of the Foreskin [link]
Genital Integrity Symbol
The Whole Network
Circumcision Information and Resource Pages
Sex as Nature Intended it (explicit material)
Circumcision Resource Center
Circumcision Information Site
Doctors against Circumcision
Catholics against Circumcision
Jewish against Circumcision
Students for Genital Integrity