Position Statements on Infant Circumcision

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The trend of opinion on routine male circumcision is overwhelmingly negative in industrialized nations. No respected medical board in the world recommends circumcision for infants, not even in the name of HIV prevention. They must all point to the risks, and they must all state that there is no convincing evidence that the benefits outweigh these risks. To do otherwise would be to take an unfounded position against the best medical authorities of the West.

Contents

United States of America

"The British Medical Association has a longstanding recommendation that circumcision should be performed only for medical reasons... Recent policy statements issued by professional societies representing Australian, Canadian, and American pediatricians do not recommend routine circumcision of male newborns". ~AMA Report 10 of the Council on Scientific Affairs[1]

"...benefits are not sufficient for the American Academy of Pediatrics to recommend that all infant boys be circumcised." ~American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) [2]

"...the association between having a sexually transmitted disease (STD) - excluding human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and being circumcised are inconclusive... most of the studies [of the effect of circumcision on HIV] ...have been conducted in developing countries, particularly those in Africa. Because of the challenges with maintaining good hygiene and access to condoms, these results are probably not generalizable to the U.S. population". ~AAFP "Position Paper on Neonatal Circumcision" [3]

Canada

"Current understanding of the benefits, risks and potential harm of this procedure no longer supports this practice for prophylactic health benefit. Routine infant male circumcision performed on a healthy infant is now considered a non-therapeutic and medically unnecessary intervention." ~College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia

"[We] do not support recommending circumcision as a routine procedure for newborns."[4] "Circumcision of newborns should not be routinely performed."[4] ~The Canadian Paediatric Society

Britain

"The BMA considers that the evidence concerning health benefits from non-therapeutic circumcision is insufficient for this alone to be a justification for doing it." ~The British Medical Association

Australia

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians stated in 2010 that the foreskin "exists to protect the glans" and that it is a "primary sensory part of the penis, containing some of the most sensitive areas of the penis."[5]

According to the Australasian Academy of Paediatric Surgeons:
"The Australasian Association of Paediatric Surgeons does not support the routine circumcision of male neonates, infants or children in Australia. It is considered to be inappropriate and unnecessary as a routine to remove the prepuce, based on the current evidence available."

"We do not support the removal of a normal part of the body, unless there are definite indications to justify the complications and risks which may arise. In particular, we are opposed to male children being subjected to a procedure, which had they been old enough to consider the advantages and disadvantages, may well have opted to reject the operation and retain their prepuce."

"Neonatal male circumcision has no medical indication. It is a traumatic procedure performed without anaesthesia to remove a normal functional and protective prepuce. At birth, the prepuce has not separated from the underlying glans and must be forcibly torn apart to deliver the glans, prior to removal of the prepuce distal to the coronal groove."[6]

Netherlands

In the Netherlands, the Royal Dutch Medical Association (KNMG) issued a statement in 2010 stating that "The official viewpoint of KNMG and other related medical/scientific organizations is that non-therapeutic circumcision of male minors is a violation of children’s rights to autonomy and physical integrity." Circumcision can cause complications, including infection and bleeding, and are asking doctors to insistently inform parents that the procedure lacks medical benefits and has a danger of complications. In addition to there not being any convincing evidence that circumcision is necessary or useful for hygiene or prevention, circumcision is not justifiable and is reasonable to put off until an age where any risk is relevant, and the boy can decide himself about possible intervention, or opt for available alternatives. They went on to say "There are good reasons for a legal prohibition of non-therapeutic circumcision of male minors, as exists for female genital mutilation." [7]

References

  1. "Report 10 of the Council on Scientific Affairs (I-99): Neonatal Circumcision". American Medical Association Official Website. http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/no-index/about-ama/13585.shtml. Accessed May 4, 2011.
  2. Where We Stand: Circumcision". AAP Official Website. 03/23/2011. http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/prenatal/decisions-to-make/pages/Where-We-Stand-Circumcision.aspx
  3. "Circumcision: Position Paper on Neonatal Circumcision. Board Approved: August 2007 Reaffirmed". Official American Academy of Family Physicians Website. http://www.aafp.org/online/en/home/clinical/clinicalrecs/children/circumcision.html. Accessed 5/2/2011.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Neonatal circumcision revisited. Fetus and Newborn Committee, Canadian Paediatric Society.". CMAJ 154 (6): 769-80. Mar 1996. PMID 8634956. 
  5. "Circumcision of infant males" (PDF). RACP. pp. 7. http://www.racp.edu.au/index.cfm?objectid=65118B16-F145-8B74-236C86100E4E3E8E. 
  6. J. Fred Leditshke. Guidelines for Circumcision. Australasian Association of Paediatric Surgeons. Herston, QLD: 1996.
  7. "Non-therapeutic circumcision of male minors". 2010. http://knmg.artsennet.nl/Diensten/knmgpublicaties/KNMGpublicatie/Nontherapeutic-circumcision-of-male-minors-2010.htm. Retrieved 2011-09-01. "The official viewpoint of KNMG and other related medical/scientific organisations is that non-therapeutic circumcision of male minors is a violation of children’s rights to autonomy and physical integrity." 
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