THE ADVERTISER, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia,
19 May 2003.

No medical reason to circumcise children

19 May 2003

DOCTORS have been advised to tell parents there is no medical reason to routinely circumcise boys.

The policy statement developed by the paediatric and child health division of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians raises the prospect of future legal action if the surgery is performed.

Parents who have their child circumcised – and doctors who perform the surgery – could face legal action when the child grows up.

The stance follows a major review of existing information and reaffirms the position of the College of Paediatrics and the Australasian Association of Paediatric Surgeons.

"Review of the literature in relation to risks and benefits shows there is no evidence of benefit outweighing harm for circumcision as a routine procedure," the RACP says.

"There is no medical indication for routine male circumcision."

In Australia the circumcision rate has fallen in recent years to about 10 per cent of male infants.

The rate of complications from neo-natal circumcision is between 1 and 5 per cent.

(File prepared 19 May 2003)