Advantages and disadvantages of circumcision 

There are several potential advantages and disadvantages associated with circumcising boys shortly after they are born.

For example:

However, there are much more effective and less invasive ways of preventing these conditions. For example, practising good hygiene to prevent UTIs, or using a condom to prevent STIs.

Read about when circumcision may be necessary for more details.

Most healthcare professionals maintain that the potential benefits of circumcision are not strong enough to justify routine childhood circumcision. Critics of circumcision argue that it has disadvantages, such as:

  • Reduced sensitivity – an uncircumcised penis is more sensitive than a circumcised penis, meaning that circumcised men may experience less pleasure during sex.
  • Potential complications of circumcision – these include excessive bleeding, post-operative infection and, in rare cases, injury to the urethra. These complications are thought to outweigh any potential benefits.

Critics have also argued that routinely circumcising baby boys on medical grounds violates the principle of consent to treatment. They say that circumcision should only be performed when a boy is old enough to make an informed decision about whether he wishes to be circumcised.

Page last reviewed: 10/01/2014

Next review due: 10/01/2016