The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

Newborn Male Circumcision

This FAQ is so wrong, from beginning to end, that rather than a full point-by-point rebuttal, correct answers have been added. Notice how every one of the ACOG's answers is designed to push parents in the direction of cutting.

What is Male Circumcision?

Male circumcision is the surgical removal of the foreskin, which is the layer of skin that covers the head of the penis.
It is only quasi-surgical. In practice in hospitals it is an assembly like process [but it. NB, no mention of the complex structure of the foreskin or any possible function. No mention, for example, that on erection, it uncovers the head of the penis.]

It is a ritual to remove a future man's genital sensory organ before he can resist or object.

When is circumcision performed?

Circumcision may be performed before or after the mother and baby leave the hospital. It is performed only if the baby is healthy. If the baby has a medical condition, circumcision may be postponed.
There is hardly ever any need for it to be "performed". Infant male genital cutting is committed when the man is too small and weak to resist.

How is circumcision performed?

Circumcision takes only a few minutes [which will seem like days to a newborn baby]. During the procedure, the baby is placed on a special table. Various [quasi-]surgical techniques are used, but they follow the same steps:

  • The penis and foreskin are cleaned. [The foreskin is torn away from the glans.]
  • A special clamp is attached to the penis and the foreskin is [crushed,] cut [or chopped] and removed.
  • After the procedure, gauze with petroleum jelly is placed over the wound to protect it from rubbing against the diaper.
    The best way to find out how it is committed is to watch one. This woman is proud of her butchery:

What pain medication is used for circumcision?

Analgesia is safe and effective in reducing the pain associated with newborn circumcision. Before the procedure, you should ask what type of pain relief will be used. [What good will that do?]
Often none, and never enough. It wears off after two hours, but the pain persists. General anaesthetic would be enough, but that is not safe for newborns. Dorsal penile nerve block, the gold standard, fails to numb the ventral nerves.
Mothers commonly report that their babies are unsettled afterwards, and the establishment of breastfeeding may be impaired.

Who performs circumcisions?

The procedure may be done by your obstetrician–gynecologist (ob-gyn) or by a pediatrician, a physician who takes care of the health of children. In some cases, a circumcision may be done in a nonmedical setting for religious or cultural reasons. If this is the case, the person doing the circumcision should be well trained in how to do the procedure, how to relieve pain, and how to prevent infection.
People without ethics. Ob-gyns are specialists in women and childbirth, not male paediatric genital surgery. In what other area is advice about an unnecessary procedure entrusted to people outside the field, but who financially benefit from it?

Is circumcision a required procedure?

It is your choice whether to have your son circumcised. It is not required by law or by hospital policy. Because circumcision is an elective procedure, it may not be covered by your health insurance policy. To find out if your policy covers the procedure, call your health insurance provider.
No. On the contrary, it is an unethical procedure that would be illegal if the foreskin were treated like any other normal, healthy, functional body part, as it is in most of the world.

Why do some parents choose to have their infant sons circumcised?

One reason why parents circumcise their newborn sons is for health benefits, such as decreased risk of urinary tract infection during the first year of life and decreased risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) later in life. Others may choose circumcision so that the child does not look different from his father or other boys. For some people, circumcision is a part of cultural or religious practices. Muslims and Jews, for example, have circumcised their male newborns for centuries.
Misinformation, custom, conformity and fear. The health benefits are exaggerated when they are not utterly bogus. There is nothing else we cut off babies to make them look like someone else.

Why do some parents choose not to have their infant sons circumcised?

Some parents choose not to circumcise their sons because they are worried about the pain the baby feels or the risks involved. Others believe it is a decision a boy should make himself when he is older. However, recovery may take longer when circumcision is done on an older child or adult. The risk of complications also is increased when circumcision is done later. [That is false. The risk of cutting badly is greatly reduced when the penis is full sized. Hurry! This offer won't last! No mention that there is no need for recovery or risk of complications when it is not done at all.]
Nobody needs any reason not to cut parts off babies' genitals. It's his body and nobody else's business. In most of the world, there is no need for any choice, and boys and men have no need to make any decision when they are older, either, so of course there are no concerns about comrecovery time.

What are the health benefits associated with circumcision?

Circumcision reduces the bacteria that can live under the foreskin. This includes bacteria that can cause urinary tract infections or, in adults, STIs. Circumcised infants appear to have less risk of urinary tract infections than uncircumcised infants during the first year of life. Some research shows that circumcision may decrease the risk of a man getting human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) from an infected female partner. More research is needed in this area. {Then why is this being presented as a reason to do it?]

After studying scientific evidence, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) found that the health benefits of circumcision in newborn boys outweigh the risks of the procedure. But the AAP also found the benefits are not great enough to recommend that all newborn boys be circumcised.
Each of the supposed benefits involves a disputed, partial reduction in an ailment that is rare, of late onset, and/or readily prevented or treated by other means. Many boys would have to be cut in vain for one boy or man ever to benefit. The AAP's 2012 policy, which expired in 2017, was rejected by 38 top pediatricians, including the heads and spokespeople of 17 paediatric bodies.

Are there risks associated with circumcision?

All surgical procedures carry some risk. Complications from a circumcision are rare, but they can occur. When they do occur, they usually are minor. Possible complications include bleeding, infection, or scarring. In rare cases, too much of the foreskin or not enough foreskin is removed. Complications generally are less likely if the circumcision is done by someone well trained in the procedure. It also is less likely for complications to arise if the circumcision is done in a medical setting.
Risks go all the way to death. Scandalously, the exact risk of death is unknown. There are many other possible complications. The man may hate that he was cut when he had no choice.

Some parents also may worry that circumcision harms a man’s sexual function, sensitivity, or satisfaction. However, current evidence shows that it does not.
Any intact man can tell you that his foreskin has an important role in his sexual functioning. The "current evidence" comes from studies by cut men with a vested interest in justifying their condition, and that is evident from the flaws in the studies; for example, some fail to consider or measure the sensitivity of the foreskin itself. 

When should circumcision not be done?

Circumcision should only be done when the newborn is stable and healthy. Reasons to delay circumcision include the following:

  • The baby is born very early
  • The baby has certain problems with his blood or a family history of bleeding disorders
  • The baby has certain congenital abnormalities
It should virtually never be done. Only when the baby has a pressing medical issue with his foreskin that can be treated no other way.

How should I care for my circumcised son?

If you choose to have your baby boy circumcised, you will need to care for his penis as it heals. {It does not make his penis "maintenance free".] With each diaper change, the penis should be cleaned and petroleum jelly placed over the wound. The jelly can be placed on a gauze pad and applied directly on the penis or placed on the diaper in the area the penis touches. In most cases, the skin will heal in 7–10 days. You may notice that the tip of the penis is red and there may be a small amount of yellow fluid. This usually is a normal sign of healing.[The yellow fluid - pus - is white blood cells that have died fighting infection.]

How do I keep the circumcised area clean?

Use a mild soap to gently wash the penis. Remove any stool with soap and water during diaper changes. Change diapers often so that urine and stool do not cause infection. Signs of infection include redness that does not go away, swelling, or fluid that looks cloudy and forms a crust. Call your health care professional right away if you notice any of these signs.
Wasn't the cutting supposed to prevent infection?

How should I care for my uncircumcised son?

If your baby boy is not circumcised, wash the outside of the penis with a mild soap and water. Do not attempt to pull back the infant’s foreskin. The foreskin may not be able to pull back completely until he is older. This is normal. [So far so good.] Your child’s pediatrician will tell you when it is ready to be pulled back and cleaned.
NO! Paediatricians often tell parents to pull it back before it is ready, causing the very problems cutting is claimed to prevent. The boy will pull his own foreskin back when he is good and ready, sometimes not until puberty.

As your child gets older, teach your son how to wash his penis. When he is old enough, he should gently pull back the foreskin and clean the area with soap and water. The foreskin then should be pushed back into place.

What should I consider when making a decision about circumcision?

It is important to have all of the information about the possible benefits and risks of the procedure before making a decision. You may think about future health benefits, religious or cultural beliefs, and personal preferences or social concerns. Remember, circumcision is elective—it is your choice whether to have it done. If you have any questions or concerns, talk with your ob-gyn or other health care professional during your pregnancy so you have enough time to make an informed decision.
Notice the vagueness, and the the lack of any consideration of the penis's owner. This FAQ ignores the decline in genital cutting in the USA (making "to look like his peers" false), the growing voice of men outraged that this was done to them before they could resist or object, and the strong opposition of the rest of the world's medical profession. Consider that infant male genital cutting is never painless, not necessary, removes significant tissue, deprives a man of choice about his own sexual functioning, has no place in Christianity, has been abandoned by the rest of the English speaking world, and has never been customary in any other developed country. Two billion males worldwide enjoy their foreskins with no problems. So could yours.


Analgesia: Relief of pain without loss of muscle function. [That's why the Circumstraint™ has Velcro straps to hold the baby down and prevent him from injuring himself when he struggles against what is being done to him.]

Bacteria: One-celled organisms that can cause infections in the human body.[They are trying to scare you. Many bacteria, such as those digesting food in our gut, are beneficial. Our bodies are covered in trillions of them.]

Circumcision: The surgical removal of a fold of skin called the foreskin that covers the glans (head) of the penis. [The c-word is actually a religious euphemism.  The medical term would be posthectomy or foreskin resection.]

Complications: Diseases or conditions that occur as a result of another disease or condition. An example is pneumonia that occurs as a result of the flu. A complication also can occur as a result of a condition, such as pregnancy. An example of a pregnancy complication is preterm labor.

Many complications of genital cutting

Elective Procedure: A planned, nonemergency procedure that is chosen by a patient or health care professional. The procedure is seen [by whom?] as positive for the patient but not absolutely necessary. [The healthy infant - not a patient - never elects to have his foreskin cut off. Parents normally only elect surgery on healthy babies where there is severe disfigurement that will benefit from early treatment.]

Foreskin: A layer of skin covering the end of the penis.[And on erection, uncovering the head of the penis and covering the shaft of the penis. When it is the whole topic of this discussion and the target of this operation, they could hardly say less about it, could they?]

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV): A virus that attacks certain cells of the body’s immune system and causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

Obstetrician–Gynecologist (Ob-Gyn): A physician with special skills, training, and education in women’s health.

Penis: An external male sex organ.

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs): Infections that are spread by sexual contact, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, human papillomavirus (HPV), herpes, syphilis, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV, the cause of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome [AIDS]).

Published: June 2017
Last reviewed: April 2019
Copyright 2021 by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
All rights reserved.
Read copyright and permissions information. This information is designed as an educational aid for the public. It offers current information and opinions related to women's health. It is not intended as a statement of the standard of care. It does not explain all of the proper treatments or methods of care. It is not a substitute for the advice of a physician. Read ACOG’s complete disclaimer.

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