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Circumcision: Good or Bad Debate

  • Published: 2015-08-12 (Revised/Updated 2018-02-09) : Author: Thomas C. Weiss : Contact: Disabled World
  • Synopsis: Information regarding circumcision, a practice commonly performed on the first or second day after a male child is born.

Quote: "According to a comprehensive study, newborn responses to pain are similar to, yet greater than, those observed in adults. Circumcision is highly painful as well as traumatic."

Main Document

Circumcision involves the surgical removal of a male's foreskin, which is the tissue covering the head of the penis. The practice is an ancient one that has its origin in religious rites. In modern times, many parents have their sons circumcised for religious or other reasons.

Male circumcision is defined as the surgical removal of the foreskin (prepuce) from the human penis. In a typical procedure, the foreskin is opened and then separated from the glans after inspection. The circumcision device (if used) is placed, and then the foreskin is removed.

Circumcision is commonly performed on the first or second day after a male child is born. In the Jewish population, it is performed on the eight day. The procedure becomes riskier and more complicated in babies who are older, children, as well as men.

During circumcision, the foreskin is cut from the head of the penis. The excess foreskin is clipped off. If the procedure is performed during the newborn period, it takes between five and ten minutes. Adult circumcision takes approximately one hour. The procedure usually heals in five to ten days.

Debating Necessity of Circumcision

The use of circumcision for health or medical reasons is an issue that continues to be debated today. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) discovered that the health benefits of newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks associated with it, yet the benefits are not great enough to recommend universal newborn circumcision. The procedure might be recommend for boys who are older or men in order to treat, 'phimosis,' or the inability to retract the foreskin, or to treat an infection of the person's penis.

Parents of male children should discuss with their doctor the risks and benefits of circumcision prior to making a decision in regards to performing the procedure on their child. Additional factors such as a person's religion, culture, or personal preference also need to be involved in the discussion. There is some evidence that circumcision has health benefits such as:

Circumcision also makes it easier for a person to keep the end of their penis clean. Some studies show that good hygiene may help to prevent certain issues with the penis, to include swelling and infections, even if the person's penis is not circumcised. The debate continues.

Risks of Circumcision

Circumcision, as with any surgical procedure, presents certain risks. The risks; however, are low. Issues associated with circumcision include the following:

Circumcision Facts

More than 80% of the men in the world today are, 'intact.' The majority of circumcised males are Muslims. There are no national medical organizations in the world that recommend routine circumcision of male infants. What follows is more information regarding the practice of circumcision.

Circumcision is the world's oldest planned surgical procedure, suggested by anatomist and hyperdiffusionist historian Grafton Elliot Smith to be over 15,000 years old, pre-dating recorded history. There is no firm consensus as to how it came to be practiced worldwide.

Evidence suggests that circumcision was practiced in the Arabian Peninsula by the 4th millennium BCE, when the Sumerians and the Semites moved into the area that is modern-day Iraq.

Circumcision is practiced by some groups amongst Australian Aboriginal peoples, Polynesians, and Native Americans. Little information is available about the origins and history of circumcision among these peoples, compared to circumcision in the Middle East.

Statistics: Circumcision


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