Unlike for girls and intersex children, unnecessary genital surgery on boys has its own word in English “circumcision”. It is often described as the oldest or the most common surgery practiced.

When the foreskin is removed all the unavoidable risks of surgery are present every time, including haemorrhage (excessive bleeding), removal of too much tissue, amputation and death. It is also an exception to almost all the rules of law or human rights, of medical practice and ethics, but the idea that “circumcision is normal” is deeply embedded in our cultures, despite the statistical facts showing it is not normal. According to the The Royal Australasian College of Physicians “There are fewer boys being circumcised in Australia and New Zealand in recent years than in the past. Currently,only 10-20% of boys in Australia and less than 10% of boys in New Zealand are circumcised.”

Apart from the consent of one parent (or a person standing in for a parent), there are no laws, rules or restrictions on child MGM/C whatsoever in Australia or New Zealand.

There is no requirement for the circumciser to be medically trained or qualified. There are no registration or accreditation requirements for circumcisers, the premises they operate out of or the equipment they use to perform the surgery. There is nothing to prevent any non-doctor from doing it as long as nothing goes wrong. There is nothing to prevent it being done without anaesthetic.

Anyone can be a circumciser and a boy can be circumcised at any age for any reason, anywhere, with any cutting implement, with or without pain relief and with or without infection control.

Hair and nail salons require trained staff and operate out of registered premises. Tattooing and piercing clinics operate under significantly tighter regulations (and are strictly prohibited from tattooing or genitally-piercing minors). It is an offence in most States in Australia to amputate or “dock” the tail of a dog unnecessarily.

There have been millions of dollars spent of proving supposed benefits of MGM/C but virtually none spent on recording adverse events, or researching its negative effects. A growing body of research is showing that the risks include diminished sexual function, reduced sensitivity, lifelong shame, anger and even psychological and psychiatric effects.

In September 2010 The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) released the following statement.

“After reviewing the currently available evidence, the RACP believes that the frequency of diseases modifiable by circumcision, the level of protection offered by circumcision and the complication rates of circumcision do not warrant routine infant circumcision in Australia and New Zealand.”

There is absolutely no research proving that infant or child MGM/C protects any child from adult diseases. The most effective protections are always education in good hygiene and safe sex.

Further information:

Circumcision Information Australia