Supporting families to make healthy, safe choices based on scientific evidence.
Circumcision Resources focuses on non-therapeutic circumcision, which is the amputation of the foreskin (prepuce) without medical indication. Almost all circumcisions performed globally are non-therapeutic. As a result non-therapeutic circumcision is commonly referred to as just “circumcision”.
Circumcision in Canada is increasingly becoming a rare procedure. According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, in 2007 the rate of infant circumcision across Canada was 6.7%. In British Columbia the large majority of boys are not circumcised. In Victoria, BC very few infants are circumcised. Since 1975 the Canadian Pediatric Society (CPS) has not recommended infant circumcision. As a result British Columbia became the first province in Canada to stop funding for infant circumcision on April 1st 1984. Currently no province or territory covers circumcision. In 2004 (reaffirmed in 2009) the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia (CPSBC) has clearly stated that circumcision has no medical benefits, that it is an extremely risky procedure, and could be a violation of the child’s rights and a breach of medical ethics. Consequently, hospitals in Victoria, BC no longer perform non-therapeutic circumcisions. Parents should carefully investigate any doctor who promotes a non-therapeutic surgery which they financially profit from.
Originally circumcision was introduced in Canada, as well as other western English speaking countries, during the mid 1800 to prevent masturbation. Masturbation was blamed for causing many diseases, including: epilepsy, tuberculosis, insanity, and loss of skin. Since then numerous other benefits have been claimed, all of which have been largely disproven, are too small to consider (especially considering the risks), or irrelevant to Canadians. Today the vast majority of doctors no longer practice non-therapeutic infant circumcision, and all hospitals in Victoria, BC have banned it.
Circumcision continues in Canada for four main reasons. First circumcision has become somewhat of a tradition for some Canadians. In fact this is the number one reason given by parents choosing circumcision. It continues because that is what happened to the father of the child. Second it continues for religious reasons. Third, there is much in the way of misinformation and personal bias regarding the subject, even among health professionals. For instance, doctors that are circumcised or have circumcised husbands are more likely to recommend the procedure, than doctors with personal experience with intact genitals. Finally, it continues because it is highly profitable. It is a multi-billion dollar industry. Aside from the procedure itself, profit is made from the sale of materials used during the circumcision procedure. The foreskin is also sold for scientific research and to produce cosmetic products. Furthermore, because of the loss of sensitivity and natural lubrication, circumcision helps to fuel the lubrication and Viagra industry.