Argument: Myth: circumcision is necessary later if not done at birth

Issue Report: Infant male circumcision


Mary Ray. “Myth: Circumcision Inevitable Later”. 1997 – “The overwhelming majority of uncircumcised boys never develop medical problems.” [Pantell] The fear that circumcision will be required later is unwarranted. Rates in all countries other than the U.S. are miniscule. They range from 1 in 200 in some, to as low as 1 in 600 in others.

Compared to 22 other medically advanced nations, the U.S. rate of circumcision after the neonatal period is unusually high at 8% to 10%. Anti-circumcision advocates suspect that money plays a role. Circumcisions performed after the neo-natal period can become quite expensive. Some people blame the higher rate of circumcision, during and after infancy, on cultural bias against the intact penis.

To begin with, the majority of Americans are circumcised. In a culture where the circumcised penis is dominant and encouraged, doctors rarely encounter an intact male who needs treatment. The largest group of intact men are over 55 years old. They rarely, if ever, experience a problem related to their intact state. American doctors have few opportunities to consider and practice alternative methods of care. Non-surgical remedies exist. Unfortunately, American doctors tend to recommend radical circumcision no matter what. “…circumcision should be used only when there is evidence that conservative treatment is unlikely to be effective or that it has failed.” [British]