Incidence of Circumcision in British Columbia

The male neonatal circumcision rate in British Columbia peaked in the 1970s, when it reached nearly 60%. The rate has declined steadily since then.

Routine neonatal circumcision was removed from the insured services list on April 1, 1984. As of that date, it was no longer covered by the government health plan.

In recent years, the number of circumcisions performed in hospitals(1) has been as follows:

             Male      Routine Infant                  Other
 Year        Births    Circumcisions(2)    Rate(%)     Circumcisions(3)
 1992-93     23,000          4,606         20.0         1,670
 1995-96     24,000          2,329          9.7         1,731
 1996-97     24,600          1,467          6.0         1,800(5)
  1. Statistics for circumcisions performed outside hospitals are not readily available. However, the number is substantial and may exceed the number performed in hospitals.
  2. Circumcisions performed in hospitals without medical indication on males up to one month old. Paid for by parents at their own expense.
  3. Circumcisions performed on males of all ages for "medical" reasons and covered by the Medical Services Plan of British Columbia. A very small number of these (fewer than 100 per year) are performed on newborns. Of the 1,731 "therapeutic" circumcisions performed in 1995-96, 43 were performed on newborns, 1,023 were performed on children, and 665 were performed on adults.
  4. Not available.
  5. Estimated.

Source: B.C. Ministry of Health

See also: Circumcision rate in British Columbia, Canada. (off-site link.)

Recent Developments (2004)

Newspaper reports indicate that in-hospital circumcisions have reached a new low. BC Children's Hospital reported that only 4.9 percent of the boys born in 2002-3 were circumcised.1 Victoria General Hospital reports that only 1 percent of boys are being circumcised in that hospital.2

  1. Suzanne Fournier. Lack of post-surgery info angers grieving parents. The Province, Vancouver, B.C., Friday, 13 February 2004.
  2. Sandra McCulloch. Circumcision numbers cut back at Victoria hospital: Doctors re-examine issues surrounding painful procedure. The Times-Colonist, Victoria, B.C., Friday, 20 February 2004.

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