What is Circumcision?

Circumcision is one of the oldest and most common surgical procedures worldwide, a simple surgical procedure that removes the foreskin, a sleeve of skin covering the end of the penis. Parents in Australia have the legal right to authorise circumcision. In order to make an informed decision, you must carefully consider the benefits and risks.

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History

Circumcision has been performed for thousands of years as part of the culture of indigenous people who live in hot environments such as in Australia, the Pacific Islands, equatorial countries, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas.

Male circumcision is one of the oldest surgical procedures known, traditionally undertaken as a mark of cultural identity or religious importance. With advances in surgery in the 19th century, and increased mobility in the 20th century, the procedure was introduced into some previously non- circumcising cultures for both health-related and social reasons.

In Australia most newborn boys were once circumcised routinely. It then decreased precipitously in the 1970s-80s, but is now rising again, in line with research. Currently 66% of Australian-born and 91% of US-born white men are circumcised.