Circumcision Decision-maker Tool
Having a Boy? Don't make a
circumcision mistake!
Read our circumcision and foreskin care information, and try our unique risk assessment tool with plain language answers.

The Circumcision Debate
A user-friendly, entry-level introduction

My Baby Will be Circumcised
You're Having a Baby!
Like Father, Like Son
Many Things Can Go Wrong
Including Recent Death
Taking Baby Home Intact

Cleaning Is Easy!
Is it Ethical?
What's Lost from Circ?
The Foreskin Has Value
Sex Better Cut or Uncut?
Sexual Preference for a Circ Penis
85% of World's Men Intact
History of Circumcision
"20/20" Segment Corrected

Religious Circumcision
Intact Care Agreement

Circumcision Methods
Circumcision is Painful
Observe One Beforehand
Medical Arguments Eliminated
UTIs Rarely Caused by Foreskin

STDs & Sexual Dysfunction

HIV & Circumcision: The Truth
Rarely Needed Later
Worse? Infant or Adult Circ?
Retractions Not Required
Smegma Beneficial Not Bad
Adhesions: A Circ Problem
Tightness, Tearing & Ballooning
Hypospadias, a Contra-Indication

Mothers of Intact Sons


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The Case Against Circumcision

"All truth goes through three stages. First it is ridiculed. Then it is violently opposed.
Finally, it is accepted as self-evident."

Arthur Schoepenhauer

"I believe the time has come to acknowledge that the practice of routine circumcision rests on the absurd premise that the only mammal in creation born in the condition that requires immediate surgical correction is the human male."
Thomas Szasz, M.D.

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The Circumcision Decision: An Overview

Circumcision was voted the #1 parental controversy in 2010, which helps to explain why the U.S. infant circumcision rate is now 32%, down from 56% three years ago, according to the CDC. A new study revealed a disturbing medical secret: every year more than 100 American babies die from circumcision-related causes.

Intact America, the largest organization devoted to protecting baby boys (and the men they will become) from the penile harm of circumcision, recently created a companion, entry-level website for folks new to the issue called The Circumcision Debate. This is a great introductory resource for men, parents, journalists, and students.

Parents considering circumcision for their son need to learn what their real reasons are. Many parents chose circumcision having only a vague notion of why they did. The new website Circumcision Decision-Maker will help you to identify what your real reasons are, and then follows up with some expert advice so you don't make a mistake.

Child genital cutting (CGC) has been proposed as a Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) in the new website and online and mobile apps for learning your ACE score. The site encourages all ACE researchers to modify the ACEs questionnaire to expand support for these victims of sexual abuse.

Many famous child care experts and doctors recommend against circumcision. Dr. Dean Edell has advised against infant circumcision in his radio show for more than 15 years. Sheila Kitzinger emphatically recommends that parents leave their sons intact. Dr. Lendon Smith goes into detail explaining the foreskin’s purposes and giving many reasons why circumcision should not be performed. Dr. Spock, in his most recent book, stated, “I feel that there’s no solid medical evidence at this time to support routine circumcision,” and recommends “leaving the foreskin the way Nature meant it to be.” Penelope Leach also recommends against routine circumcision. Click here to see the list of their books.  

Routine infant circumcision [RIC] for nonreligious reasons is not practiced in first-world countries except the United States. Unlike American parents, few parents worldwide are actually faced with this choice. Their babies are automatically brought home intact. 82% of the world’s living men are intact. Few people are aware of the fact that circumcision was introduced into our culture in an attempt to eliminate masturbation. Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Britain once circumcised their boys, but have ceased the practice.

Do not forfeit this decision out of respectful submission to your doctor. There are many benefits to keeping the foreskin intact. Doctors have a vested interest in performing as many circumcisions as they can, even though most doctors do not circumcise their own sons.

People mistakenly believe the circumcised penis is cleaner because smegma is reduced. Proper hygiene is all that is necessary. Cleaning an intact penis is so simple it’s amazing that people fret so much about it. The big hoopla over hygiene is pure paranoia. The fact is, smegma is beneficial, not bad.

Circumcision is painful. Although many say anesthesia solves that problem, it doesn't. There are risks associated with anesthesia, including death.  It is never 100% effective and the needle stick itself is painful.

Some medical and childbirth professionals recommend that expectant parents request permission from their hospital to observe a circumcision being performed. There are also videos available.  As with any medical event, people should be made aware of what exactly is involved.  This site and others describe the details of all the different circumcision methods.

Some children are surprised to learn that their penis has been cut and that a part of it has been discarded. Some have to live with circumcisions that had unsatisfactory results and the pursuit of foreskin restoration is not uncommon. You may read a written account and actually see the progress of one man's restoration process through his photos over the course of several months. Foreskin Restoration Personal Journal

A Newborn BabyCircumcision does not guarantee a problem free penis. In fact, in many cases it is the very thing that initiates numerous problems. Careful cleaning must be performed. Infections of the raw wound are common.
Remaining Foreskin Reattaching (Adhesions)
Nathan, Intact, Born 10/13/97

Repeated infections can result in meatal stenosis (a narrowing of the urinary opening) which may require surgery. Meticulous care is needed in order to avoid the formation of an adhesion (scar tissue). This can result in a disfigurement and corrective surgery may be necessary. Some people complain that not enough skin was removed during their son’s circumcision. They fear he looks uncircumcised. Children are often subjected to circumcisions being ‘redone.’ Sometimes, a circumcision may only appear to be incomplete when actually it is not. There may be fat pads in the pubic area. When the child grows and the fat pad disappears, it will likely have the look of an ordinary circumcised penis. Often too much tissue is removed, although this is not become obvious until later. This can cause painful erections and curvature of the penis. And finally, the circumcised penis is not immune to infections including sexually transmitted diseases or penile cancer.

Many parents are led to believe that circumcision is safer than leaving the penis in its natural form. Your Child’s Health by Barton Schmitt reports one out of every 500 circumcisions results in a serious complication. Many things can go wrong including hemorrhage, infections and damage to the penis. More than one hundred baby boys die from circumcision each year in the United States. All of they could have lived if their parents had just said "No" to an unecessary surgery. Much of the harm from circumcision does not become apparent until adulthood.

The assumption that circumcision is inevitable at some later time is a myth. This fear is unwarranted. In Taking Care of Your Child, the authors state, “The overwhelming majority of uncircumcised boys never develop medical problems.” There is a less than 1% chance that circumcision will ever be medically necessary. If only one out of a hundred boys will require circumcision later, why then should the remaining 99% be circumcised?

Even in the unlikely event it were necessary, which is worse: adult or infant circumcision? Many are told or automatically assume it's easier and less painful for an infant; find out why this just isn't so.

Unfortunately, the foreskin is still blamed for countless problems. So with the best of intentions, parents continue to authorize the procedure totally unaware of the risks taken and loss involved. But these medical problems are usually caused by other means. Penile and cervical cancers, urinary tract infections and sexually transmitted diseases have nothing to do with the foreskin itself. The information as to what actually causes these conditions is readily available.

It appears that the major reason circumcision persists in this country is that many think all penises should look alike. The “like father, like son” argument is as famous as the locker room excuse. But, with the current circumcision rate of 32%, these arguments are now moot.

Some insist it simply ‘looks better’ that way. There are women who claim to prefer a circumcised penis. What they may not realize is that there are sexual advantages to remaining intact. Male sexuality and the anatomy of the foreskin is discussed frankly and graphically here.  Read personal accounts from men and women who've experienced sex with and without. Men, did circumcision ruin your sex life?

The fact that many circumcised men will ardently defend the continued practice ...and dismiss it as a trivial matter has its parallel among circumcised women in Africa.

One thing is certain and those who are fully informed know that nonreligious circumcision is not medically necessary. Knowing this, if a parent still chooses to circumcise their baby, they are doing it for so-called cosmetic reasons. Nonreligious RIC persists in America because it has become part of our culture. It has evolved into a purely cosmetic procedure. As an infant, he is forced to experience the parent’s preference. Upon maturity, the son may not share the same preference. He may later conclude that if it had been left up to him, he would have preferred to remain intact.

Parents who choose circumcision for cosmetic reasons do not realize that it cannot be accurately described as truly cosmetic. When it is presented so lightly, people naturally assume the effects of circumcision are minimal -- even insignificant. The word is extremely misleading. Cosmetic surgery is performed to improve physical appearance without affecting function.  The foreskin, commonly believed to have no purpose, actually has numerous functions and all of them are eliminated when the foreskin is removed.

Circumcision is irreversible. Healthy, functioning tissue is amputated from a helpless baby. Many have taken the position that the procedure is a human rights violation. The question is whether parents have the right to consent to an unnecessary procedure that has lifelong consequences.

Today, many Jews are questioning circumcision and opting against it. Christianity split off from Judaism because its followers did not see any value in the Old Testament requirement. Ironically, some Christians mistakenly believe circumcision is still required.  

“The physician today has a duty to discourage circumcision and to refuse to perform it.” Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients, April 1996. An organization called Doctors Opposing Circumcision (D.O.C.) is committed to stopping RIC.

    In all studies to date, the risks of circumcision have always exceeded any alleged benefits, a fact that often is not made clear to parents." Circumcision and the Code of Ethics, George C. Denniston, M.D., M.P.H., Humane Health Care International, Vol. 12, No. 2, April 1996.

     "Study provides further evidence that circumcision for non-medical reasons may be a mistake." The Chronicle of Urology & Sexual Medicine, Routine Circumcision Questioned as Prepuce May Have Special Function.

    Some insurance companies no longer provide coverage for routine infant circumcision and there are hospitals that refuse to perform it because there is no medical indication. “We feel medical procedures should be for medical reasons...” [Pantell] Some hospitals refuse to perform RICs without any medical indication.

    During a two year review conducted by the Fetus & Newborn Committee of the Canadian Paediatric Society to determine whether routine circumcision of newborns should be recommended, it was concluded that "Circumcision of newborns should not be routinely performed." This official statement can be found in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, Mar 13, 1996, 154(6), 769-780.  

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NOTICE: The pages of this site are provided for information purposes only. This is not a substitute for the personal care you can obtain from your medical professional. Whenever faced with a medical problem, please seek the advice of your family doctor. Mothers Against Circumcision presents this data
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