Navigation Links
Is infant male circumcision an abuse of the rights of the child?
Date:12/7/2007

Circumcision is one of the commonest surgical procedures performed on males. Opponents argue that infant circumcision can cause both physical and psychological harm, while recent evidence shows that circumcision is medically beneficial. Two doctors debate the issue in this weeks BMJ.

There is now rarely a therapeutic indication for infant circumcision, yet ritual (non-therapeutic) male circumcision continues unchecked throughout the world, long after female circumcision, facial scarification, and other ritual forms of infant abuse have been made illegal, writes Geoff Hinchley, a consultant at Barnet & Chase Farm NHS Trust.

The law and principles pertaining to child protection should apply equally to both sexes, so why do society and the medical profession collude with this unnecessary mutilating practise, he asks"

In addition to religious justification, there have been many spurious and now unsupported claims for circumcision including the prevention of penile cancer, masturbation, blindness, and insanity, most of which relate to adult sexual behaviour and not to the genital anatomy or best interest of a child, he adds.

There may be a case that male circumcision reduces HIV risk in sexually active adults, however the decision on whether an individual wishes to have this procedure should be left until they are old enough to make their own informed health care choices.

Male genital mutilation is not a risk-free procedure, he adds. Far from being a harmless traditional practice, circumcision damages young boys.

And in terms of legal protection, he argues that both the US and the UK legal systems discriminate between the sexes when it comes to protecting boys and girls from damaging ritual genital mutilation.

The unpalatable truth is that logic and the rights of the child play little part in determining the acceptability of male genital mutilation in our society, he writes. The profession needs to recognise this and champion the argument on behalf of boys that was so successful for girls.

But Kirsten Patrick of the BMJ argues that, if competently performed, circumcision carries little risk and cannot be compared with female circumcision.

Although any surgical operation can be painful and do harm, the pain of circumcision, if done under local anaesthesia, is comparable to that from an injection for immunisation, she writes.

In terms of evidence of benefit, male circumcision has been associated with a reduced risk of sexually transmitted infections, such as human papilloma virus, chancroid and syphilis. Robust research has also shown that circumcision can reduce the spread of HIV.

And although the complication rate for infant circumcision is essentially unknown (because most operations are unregistered) data suggest that it is between 0.2% and 3%, with most complications being minor. Furthermore, she says, no robust research exists examining the long term psychological effects of male infant circumcision.

Despite the fact that no medical body advocates routine male infant circumcision, most agree that it is safe and acceptable and recommend that the procedure is carried out by a competent operator using adequate anaesthesia.

Male circumcision is not illegal anywhere in the world. It is a choice that parents will make on behalf of their male children, for cultural or other reasons, and regulating its provision is the wisest course of action, she concludes.

An accompanying clinical review concludes that medical indications for male circumcision in both childhood and adulthood are rare, but that complications can be drastic.


'/>"/>

Contact: Emma Dickinson
edickinson@bmj.com
44-020-738-36529
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Nicotine in breast milk disrupts infants sleep patterns
2. Shaking may cause brain damage and serious long-term effects to infants
3. Maternal depression and controlling behavior associated with increased stress response in infants
4. Repeat steroids to premature infants linked to cerebral palsy
5. Babies raised in bilingual homes learn new words differently than infants learning one language
6. Joint Center Says New Approach Required to Reduce Black Infant Mortality
7. After Infant Gripe Water Recall Scare, Homeopathic Medicine Offers Safe Alternative
8. Vaginal progesterone gel may improve infant outcomes and...
9. Research shows how genetic mutation causes epilepsy in infants
10. Combination vaccines okay for infants, study shows
11. New York Citys infant mortality rate declined in 2006
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/26/2017)... ... 26, 2017 , ... On May 24, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected ... on May 4, would result in 23 million Americans losing their health insurance by ... Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). , “It is clear from the ...
(Date:5/26/2017)... ... May 26, 2017 , ... Silver Birch of Hammond, a new assisted ... more than four acres of land at 5620 Sohl Avenue in Hammond, serves older ... building includes 125 studio and one-bedroom apartments. Each of the private apartments at Silver ...
(Date:5/26/2017)... ... May 26, 2017 , ... “When the Stars Lead ... is the creation of published author Laura Weigel Douglas, an avid reader who lives ... a house that sometimes feels like Green Hills Adventure Camp. She couldn’t be more ...
(Date:5/26/2017)... ... ... “Just What Happened in the Garden of Eden”: retells the stories of three Bible figures ... of published author, Penelope Colt, mother, trader, horse farmer, artist and a former GM journeyman. ... three. At six, they moved to Dayton, Ohio, where Penny graduated high school. ...
(Date:5/24/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Last month, representatives from Rendina Healthcare Real ... officials to celebrate the grand opening of the 87,000 square foot medical office/ICU ... its ongoing relationship with RWJBarnabas Health, New Jersey’s largest health system. Two years ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/8/2017)... Mich. , May 8, 2017  Diplomat Pharmacy, ... WRB Communications, Inc. ("WRB"), a health care service ... . WRB specializes in relationship management programs ... WRB will join ... Diplomat,s commercialization support services for manufacturers, biotech firms, and ...
(Date:5/6/2017)... N.Y. , May 5, 2017  Hill-Rom Holdings, ... will add approximately 100,000 square feet to its Welch ... September 2016 its commitment to bring more than 100 ... , where Welch Allyn has maintained a significant presence ... help accommodate these new positions, a large portion of ...
(Date:5/4/2017)... DIEGO , May 4, 2017 ... demonstrating its wireless, handheld ultrasound scanners this week ... Annual Scientific Meeting (ACOG) in San ... "Clarius is the perfect tool ... growth and heart rate, and evaluate pregnancy-related complications ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: