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December 1, 2016

Intact America cherry-picked the results of a study published earlier this year by Danish researchers.

The researchers studied medical records from the year 2014 for boys under 18 in the capital region of Denmark with respect to foreskin complications. They reported that about 5.4% of boys suffered a foreskin complication severe enough to require treatment at a medical facility. Of these boys, 31% (1.7% of all boys) required surgery. For 24% of the boys with complications (0.04% of all boys.) the surgery included circumcision. The median age at the time of surgery was 11 years.

Intact America claims that because therapeutic circumcision was performed on just 0.4% of the boys in the region, that circumcision would be of no value to the other 99.6%. This is a matter of cherry-picking data.

The Danish study shows that infant circumcision would have prevented surgery at an older age for 1.7% of the boys. With a median age of 11, surgery would be significantly more complicated than a newborn circumcision. Most boys would have lasting memory of their pain and embarrassment. The study also shows that circumcision would have saved 5.4% of boys from having to get medical treatment for a foreskin complication in the first place. That's more than 1 out of every 20 boys.

Moreover, the researchers only studied boys under age 18. The focus of the study didn't include foreskin-related complications for adult men. Newborn circumcision lowers the risk of STDs for sexually-active men, and penile cancer which can afflict a man at any age. [2] And female partners of circumcised men have a lower risk of acquiring cervical cancer. [3] The preventative medical benefits for adult men and their partners can raise the lifetime medical benefits significantly.

In conclusion, whether or not circumcision is required for a medical reason, having the procedure done during infancy provides preventative medical benefits for a significant number of boys.

[1] Ida Sneppen, Jørgen Thorup, "Foreskin Morbidity in Uncircumcised Males; Pediatrics (Journal of the AAP); 2016

[2] American Academy of Pediatrics 2012 Circumcision Policy Statement.

[3] Aaron Tobian et al, "The Effect of Circumcision of HIV-Infected Men on Human Papillomavirus Infection in Female Partners: Analyses Using Data from a Randomized Trial in Rakai, Uganda"; Lancet, April 11, 2011

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