P.O. Box 369, Corte Madera, California 94925 0369

Phone 415 - 927 0661

March 15, 1986



A group of health care professionals announced this week the formation of a non-profit information center to educate health care providers and parents on the issue of infant circumcision, America's leading unnecessary surgery.

The United States is the last civilized country which still circumcises a majority of its male infants without a religious or health reason. Less than one-third of Canadian and Australian boys are now circumcised, and less than 1% of all British boys are circumcised.

"Since the late 1970's both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists have declared that there is no health, cleanliness, or medical justification for neonatal circumcision," said Marilyn F. Milos, a registered nurse and director of the National Orginization of Circumcision Information Centers (NOCIRC) headquartered in Corte Madera, California.

"Yet misinformation and confusion continue to surround this sensitive issue more than a decade after these medical findings were made public," Milos added.

"Although over 600 articles have appeared in medical journals against circumcision, many physicians and parents remain uneducated and still subject newborns to a painful surgery in the mistaken belief that it is in the best health interest of the child," Milos said.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, a division of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, over 1.25 million American boys (62%) were circumcised in 1984 while 750,000 boys (38%) left the hospital intact and uncircumcised. The annual death rate from circumcision complication is estimated at 200 per year, with thousands of boys requiring further medical attention and corrective surgery. A boy in Atlanta recently underwent a sex-change operation because of a negligent circumcision.

"Good parental decision-making depends on accurate information and, for one reason or another many parent and health care providers still do not have up-to-date medical knowledge of circumcision and its risks," said Milos, the mother of four.

"We want to help parents get the facts," Milos said.

"The California nurse cited a recent brochure for parents published by the prestigious American Academy of Pediatrics which warns:

'The glans at birth is delicate and easily irratated by urine and feces. The foreskin shields the glans; with circumcision, this protection is lost. In such cases, the glans and especially the urinary opening may become irritated or infected. The foreskin protects the glans throughout life.'

"Its amazing how many parents have never seen this pamphlet before signing a hospital consent form for an unnecessary surgery on their son," Milos said.

Milos said that there are over two dozen groups of physicians, health care providers, and parents in the U.S. who put out materials on circumcision, "but, until NOCIRC began, we had no national clearinghouse on circumcision information."

"Our archives, reference library, and videotapes are available to parents, physicians, and child birth instructors. We have books and pamphlets that can be purchased at cost, as well as audio and videocassettes. We will also provide telephone consultation to anyone who calls our hotline (415/927-0664)," Milos said.

"Milos said that her organization is "optimistic" that America's leading unnecessary surgery can be curbed by the end of the 1990s.

"A decade ago many children were subjected to unnecessary tonsillectomies, but today that surgery is way down, thanks to strong medical leadership and educated parents."

"That same has started with circumcision, especially among educated parents who value natural childbirth and who want to reduce pain for their newborn baby. In the 1960s nearly 85% to 90% of our boys were circumcised in the mistaken belief that it was right. That figure has dropped to below 65% in the 1980s and well below that in some states," Milos added.

"Parents want to do what's right for their children. Unless you have a religious reason or one of the very rare medical reasons to circumcise, the painful surgery makes no sense. Once parents understand that, I'm sure America will catch up to the rest of the modern world."


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