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Quick links to products available in the Campaign for Genital Integrity . . .

     INFORMATIVE VIDEOS: 
    
Facing Circumcision  Eight Physicians Tell Their Stories
     Restoration in Focus  
Instructional Video for Foreskin Restoration
     They Cut Babies, Don't They?  
One Man's Struggle Against Circumcision
     Whose Body, Whose Rights?   Award-winning documentary seen on PBS!

THE BOOK THAT EXPOSES IT ALL: 
    
Circumcision Exposed
Rethinking a Medical and
Cultural Tradition

FORESKIN RESTORATION with:
The P.U.D.  new low pricing!
and The VacuTrac at special pricing!
plus the Foreballs device

 

Estimated Worldwide Incidence of
Male Circumcision Complications

NOTE:   No comprehensive world records are kept regarding the exact number of
men and women now alive who were subjected as children to genital mutilation customs,
or the number of boys and girls today who are customarily mutilated.
Even in the United States, no complete and accurate records are kept of the number of
male circumcisions performed, or the number of circumcision-related complications or deaths.

The 2%-10% complication rate cited below applies to "medicalized" circumcisions.
Since the majority of male circumcisions in the world are not done in a medical setting,
but in unsanitary conditions with rudimentary and/or unsterilized cutting tools
(used razor blades, glass shards, swords, machetes, etc.),
there is a strong likelihood that the complication rate far exceeds 10%.

The figures below are conservative estimates based on reliable statistical sources.

In truth, the complication rate from circumcision is 100% because,
shorn of its normal, functioning foreskin, the circumcised penis is necessarily
denuded, desensitized, and deprived of the physiological functions of the foreskin,
regardless of other "complications" that may accompany the amputation.

Cultural, religious, emotional, psychological and gender-based factors inhibit the vast majority
of mutilated males from speaking out about this harm, as explained in the
Awakenings Synopsis.


NOTE: Links with a right-facing blue arrow will take you off this site.

 

A realistic method to conservatively estimate
worldwide circumcision complications involving only the four
major world population groups that circumcise male children.

 

Muslims

  Total World Population:5

1,033,453,000

(1 billion)

  Total Male Population:6  

516,726,500

(516.7 million)

  Complication Rate:7, 8

10%

2%

1%

  Males with Complications

51,672,650
(51.6 million)

10,334,530
(10.3 million)

5,167,260
(5.1 million)

Notes:

5   Source: Religious Populations of the World, Statistical Abstracts of the U.S. (1994):
URL http://www.medaccess.com/census95/95s1360.htm

6  Assumes 100% circumcised (improbable).

7  Differing diagnostic criteria for the term "complication" explain the wide range of 2% to 10%. The authors discuss the wide variety of complications. Williams, N. and Kapila, L.  Complications of Circumcision. British Journal of Urology, vol. 80, pp. 1231-1236, October 1993.

8  An extremely conservative 1% complication rate is included for the sake of argument. Even American circumcision advocate, Thomas  E. Wiswell, M.D., suggests that the post-neonatal complication rate from medicalized, non-ritual circumcision is 1.7% (Circumcision in Children Beyond the Neonatal Period. Pediatrics, vol. 92, no. 6, pp. 791-793, December 1993). "The true incidence of complications, however, is not known" (Report of the American Academy of Pediatrics Task Force on Circumcision. Pediatrics, vol. 84, no. 4, pp. 388-391, August 1989).

 

Jews

  World Population:5  

13,451,000

(13.4 million)

  Total Male Population: 6  

6,725,500

(6.7 million)

  Complication Rate:7, 8

10%

2%

1%

  Males with Complications

672,550

134,510

67,255

Notes:

5   Source: Religious Populations of the World, Statistical Abstracts of the U.S. (1994):
URL http://www.medaccess.com/census95/95s1360.htm

6  Assumes 100% circumcised (improbable).

7  Differing diagnostic criteria for the term "complication" explain the wide range of 2% to 10%. The authors discuss the wide variety of complications. Williams, N. and Kapila, L.  Complications of Circumcision. British Journal of Urology, vol. 80, pp. 1231-1236, October 1993.

8  An extremely conservative 1% complication rate is included for the sake of argument. Even American circumcision advocate, Thomas  E. Wiswell, M.D., suggests that the post-neonatal complication rate from medicalized, non-ritual circumcision is 1.7% (Circumcision in Children Beyond the Neonatal Period. Pediatrics, vol. 92, no. 6, pp. 791-793, December 1993). "The true incidence of complications, however, is not known" (Report of the American Academy of Pediatrics Task Force on Circumcision. Pediatrics, vol. 84, no. 4, pp. 388-391, August 1989).

 

North Americans

  Population of Group in Region: 5

288,788,000

(288.8 million)

  Male Population:   

144,394,000

(144.4 million)

  Circumcised Males:9

115,515,200

(115.5 million)

  Complication Rate:7, 8

10%

2%

1%

  Males with Complications

11,551,520
(11.6 million)

2,310,304
(2.3 million)

1,155,152
(1.1 million)

Notes:

5   Source: Religious Populations of the World, Statistical Abstracts of the U.S. (1994):
URL http://www.medaccess.com/census95/95s1360.htm

7  Differing diagnostic criteria for the term "complication" explain the wide range of 2% to 10%. The authors discuss the wide variety of complications. Williams, N. and Kapila, L.  Complications of Circumcision. British Journal of Urology, vol. 80, pp. 1231-1236, October 1993.

8  An extremely conservative 1% complication rate is included for the sake of argument. Even American circumcision advocate, Thomas  E. Wiswell, M.D., suggests that the post-neonatal complication rate from medicalized, non-ritual circumcision is 1.7% (Circumcision in Children Beyond the Neonatal Period. Pediatrics, vol. 92, no. 6, pp. 791-793, December 1993). "The true incidence of complications, however, is not known" (Report of the American Academy of Pediatrics Task Force on Circumcision. Pediatrics, vol. 84, no. 4, pp. 388-391, August 1989).

9  Assumes 80% of adult males circumcised (according to past trends) in Laumann, E. Circumcision in the United States, Journal of American Medical Association, vol. 277, pp. 1052-1057, April 1997.

For estimates of U.S. circumcision rates, see:
Estimated U.S. Incidence of Neonatal Circumcision Complications (physical only)
Affecting Males Born between 1940 and 1990

 

Tribal Religionists in Africa

  Population of Group in Region: 5

69,872,000

(69.8 million)

  Male Population:   

34,936,000

(34.9 million)

  Circumcised Males:10

8,734,000

(8.7 million)

  Complication Rate:7, 8

10%

2%

1%

  Males with Complications

873,400

174,680

87,340

Notes:

5   Source: Religious Populations of the World, Statistical Abstracts of the U.S. (1994):
URL http://www.medaccess.com/census95/95s1360.htm

7  Differing diagnostic criteria for the term "complication" explain the wide range of 2% to 10%. The authors discuss the wide variety of complications. Williams, N. and Kapila, L.  Complications of Circumcision. British Journal of Urology, vol. 80, pp. 1231-1236, October 1993.

8  An extremely conservative 1% complication rate is included for the sake of argument. Even American circumcision advocate, Thomas  E. Wiswell, M.D., suggests that the post-neonatal complication rate from medicalized, non-ritual circumcision is 1.7% (Circumcision in Children Beyond the Neonatal Period. Pediatrics, vol. 92, no. 6, pp. 791-793, December 1993). "The true incidence of complications, however, is not known" (Report of the American Academy of Pediatrics Task Force on Circumcision. Pediatrics, vol. 84, no. 4, pp. 388-391, August 1989).

10   Assumes 25% of tribes circumcise, per Table I in Prescott, J. Genital Pain vs. Genital Pleasure, The Truth Seeker, pp. 14-21, July/August 1989, which found that 83 of 325 "primitive" cultures mutilate male genitals.

 

Total Estimated Number of Circumcised Males Now Living
(Muslim, Jewish, North American, and African Tribal populations only)
647,701,200 (647.7 million) approx. 23% of world's males

 

Estimated Number of Males with Circumcision Complications

10%

2%

1%

64,770,120 (64.7 million)

12,954,024 (12.9 million)

6,477,007 (6.4 million)

 

Estimated Number of Circumcision-Related Deaths
(based on 1994 world estimate of circumcised males: 647,701,200)
1,295  to  26,987

Between 1 in 24,000 and 1 in 500,000 children die from medicalized circumcision. [Source: Thompson, Robert S. Routine Circumcision in the Newborn: An Opposing View. Journal of Family Practice, vol. 31, no. 2, pp. 189-196, 1990.]  Based on NOHARMM's estimates of male genital mutilation (35,616 children daily, 13 million children annually, see Child-Victims of Genital Mutilation: Rates & Ratios), a death rate of 1 in 24,000 translates to 1.5 deaths per day (541 children annually); while a death rate of 1 in 500,000 translates to one death every two weeks (26 children annually). These rates apply to medicalized circumcision only.  Death rate is likely to be significantly higher from non-medicalized circumcisions performed at home, en masse, and/or under rudimentary/unsanitary conditions. Circumcision of infants and children is unnecessarily dangerous if done by a physician; it is outrageously dangerous if done by a non-physician.

 

Notes:

The actual world incidence of male circumcision complications is likely to be  higher than the above estimates for the following reasons:

pearl.gif (960 bytes)  In truth, the complication rate from circumcision is 100% because, shorn of its normal, functioning foreskin, the circumcised penis is necessarily denuded, desensitized, and deprived of the physiological functions of the foreskin, regardless of other "complications" that may accompany the amputation.

pearl.gif (960 bytes)  World population has increased since 1994

pearl.gif (960 bytes) Figures do not include statistics on the majority (90%) of Africans who are non-"tribal" religionists (Christians and other non-Jewish/non-Islamic religionists), but who may still circumcise their male children.

pearl.gif (960 bytes) Figures do not include statistics from non-Jewish/non-Muslim populations of Asia, Latin America, Europe, Eurasia, and Oceania (where male circumcision is rare but still practiced) who collectively account for almost 85 % of the world's non-Jewish and non-Muslim population.

pearl.gif (960 bytes) Figures do not account for complication rates substantially higher than 10% that result from various religious and tribal circumcisions performed  en masse and/or under rudimentary/unsanitary conditions. See Significantly Increased Complication Risks with Mass Circumcisions (E. zdemir, British Journal of Urology, vol. 80, pp. 136-139, August 1997).

 

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