Financial incentive

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The Merchant's Conflict of Interest
It's hard to get a man to understand something, when his livelihood depends on his not understanding it.
– Upton Sinclair

Financial incentive in the United States to perform medically-unnecessary, non-therapeutic circumcision is very large. Non-therapeutic circumcision is a multi-billion dollar industry. Profit is reaped not only from the practice of circumcision itself, and associated hospital charges, but also from the sale of harvested foreskins, the sale of products derived from harvested foreskins, the sale of circumcision specific tools and utensils, and the treatment of complications and botched circumcisions.

The procedure itself

Mansfield et al. (1995) reported there are no medical indications for non-therapeutic infant circumcision.[1]

1.2 million baby boys are circumcised a year in the United States alone. At a dollar per procedure, that is already $1,200,000 a year. The going rate for a circumcision procedure is approximately $1,700 when hospital charges are included, multiplied by 1.2 million, that is approximately $2,040,000,000 a year that circumcision brings in based on the procedure alone.

When a baby boy is to be circumcised, mother and baby remain in hospital for about one-fourth of a day longer,[1] so that increases the profit to the hospital.

Bollinger (2012) estimates that the total cost of non-therapeutic male circumcision, including hospital costs, repair of botched circumcisions, treatment of complications, and so on is more than $3 billion per year.[2] Third-party payment is a major support to the performance of this medically-unnecessary surgery.

Solicitation for circumcision surgery

Intact America commissioned a survey by Qualtrics of the number of times that parents are solicited for a consent for non-therapeutic infant circumcision. The average was 8 times, which resulted in a 143 percent increase in the number of non-therapeutic, medically-unnecessary circumcisions carried out.[3] Giving in to the constant solicitation means that two charges will be incurred:

  1. A hospital service charge or facility fee.
  2. A physician's fee.

Parents are reminded that neonatal circumcision has no medical indication, does not provide treatment for disease, is non-therapeutic, unnecessary, and causes life-long irreversible harm because of the physical and psychic trauma and loss of the [multi-functional foreskin].

Government support

Although the foreskin has immunological and protective functions, Government medical insurance in the United States still holds the antique notion, which originated in the late 19th century, that the foreskin is a cesspool of disease, and circumcision improves hygiene and prevents sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), therefore it is best cut off and insurance should pay for it without any proof of medical indication or necessity, so there are no effective controls in force to see that only medically necessary services are covered.[4] This view is not supported by current medical evidence. In reality, the opposite is true. The immunological functions of the foreskin help to prevent disease, so intact boys are healthier.


Medicaid is a medical insurance program for people whose income is below the federal poverty level (FPL}. However, in most states, pregnant women are covered to a variable amount above the FPL.

The medical expenses of many births are borne by Medicaid. The percentage of births covered by Medicaid varies by state. It ranges from a low of 20 percent in Vermont to 71 percent in New Mexico.[5] Medicaid financed 45 percent of all births in 2010.[6] Circumcision is frequently included as part of the birth package of covered expenses, so third-party payment is provided.

While 18 states have stopped paying for non-therapeutic circumcision, 32 states still pay for it. Doctors may be driven to promote non-therapeutic circumcision if they get a free stipend from the state. Adler (2011) has argued that such payments are contrary to law.[7]

Indian Health Service

The Indian Health Service provides non-therapeutic circumcision to native Americans, even though circumcision is not part of the culture of native Americans.


Tricare is the government medical insurance for military dependents. Tricare covers non-therapeutic circumcision of the newborn male infant.[8]

Civil servants

There are about 2 million United States government employees in the United States whose health insurance covers non-therapeutic circumcision.


The United States Medicare Program provides health insurance for persons who have reached the age of 65 years. It assumes that any man with a foreskin needs a circumcision. It does not require proof of medical necessity to provide third-party payment.

State and local government

There are approximately 7,000,000 employees of state and local government. The great majority of these have health insurance that provides third-party payment for non-therapeutic circumcision.

Money provided from the above described sources to support the practice of non-therapeutic circumcision nourishes the circumcision industry.

Private insurance

The United States has an unusual system, which originated during World War II, of having employers provide a non-taxable benefit of medical insurance to employees. The system is not universal so many employers do not provide insurance. Of those who do, many provide third-party payment to support non-therapeutic circumcision.

Auxiliary tools

Industries that depend on the practice of circumcision, particularly infant circumcision include makers of the circumstraint (the board to which a baby is strapped down to for the procedure), makers of circumcision clamps, manufacturers of circumcision kits, and other utensils used for circumcision.

Clamp manufacturers:

Makers of other circumcision tools:

Makers of circumcision kits:

Makers of restraints:

Other costs:

  • Anaesthetic (rarely used)
  • Nerve blocks

Profit from harvested foreskins

Foreskins are sold to pharmaceutical companies for stem-cell research, the creation of synthetic skin, and the creation of consumer products. Since the 1980s, private hospitals have been involved in the business of supplying discarded foreskins to private bio-research laboratories and pharmaceutical companies who require human flesh as raw research material.[4] They also supply foreskins to transnational corporations. Dr. Tania Phillips, professor of dermatology at Boston University School of Medicine, insisting foreskin gathering and cultivating is scientifically and technologically "very promising." [9]

Corporate benefactors

The following transnational corporations reap corporate profits from the sale of marketable products made from harvested human foreskins:

FDA approved products

The following products fashioned from harvested foreskins were approved by the FDA for marketing:

Grants from pro-circumcision interest groups

There are pro-circumcision interest groups that give grants to doctors and researchers to "study" and promote circumcision. Organizations that do this include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2009, Schusterman Family Foundation gave a grant to mohel and professional infant circumcisor Neil Pollock to promote infant circumcision in Rwanda,[13] particularly the Mogen technique, in the name of HIV prevention.

Total annual costs of American circumcision

Bollinger (2012) estimated that the total annual cost of non-therapeutic circumcision to Americans is $3,647,000,000.[2]

See also

External links


  1. a b REFjournal Mansfield CJ, Hueston WJ, Rudy M. Neonatal circumcision: associated factors and length of hospital stay. J Fam Pract. October 1995; 41(4): 370-6. PMID. Retrieved 4 August 2020.
  2. a b REFweb Bollinger, Dan (2012). High Cost of Circumcision: $3.6 Billion Annually,, Academia. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
    Quote: As the saying goes, follow the money. Now you know why neither the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association, American Academy of Family Physicians, or the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists haven’t condemned this unnecessary surgery, and why their physician members are quick to recommend the procedure to expectant parents.
  3. REFweb Chapin, Georganne (18 November 2019). Having a Baby Boy? Intact America Warns, ‘Get Ready for the Circumcision Sellers!', prweb, Intact America. Retrieved 15 December 2020.
    Quote: Each year, an estimated 1.5 million baby boys are circumcised in American medical settings. Intact America estimates that if circumcision solicitations were to cease, 600,000 boys—and the men they will become—would be spared every year from the trauma and lifelong consequences of the procedure.
  4. a b REFbook Hodges FM (1997): A Short History of the Institutionalization of Involuntary Sexual Mutilation in the United States. Work: Sexual Mutilations: A Human Tragedy. George C. Denniston, Marilyn Fayre Milos, Frederick Mansfield Hodges (ed.). Plenum Press. Pp. 17-40. Retrieved 4 August 2020.
  5. REFweb Births financed by Medicaid. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  6. REFweb (5 September 2013). Medicaid Pays For Nearly Half of All Births in the United States. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  7. REFjournal Adler PW. It is lawful to use Medicaid to pay for circumcision?. Journal of Law and Medicine. 2011; 19: 335-353. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  8. Circumcision (Newborn)
  9. Ronald Rosenberg. 19 October 1992: 22-23.
  10. Forget pork bellies, now it's foreskins. Manson B. San Diego Reader (May 4, 1995): 12, 14 passim.
  11. New skin twin life- and look-save. Brewer S. Longevity (September 1992): 18.
  12. Companies see $1.5b market in replacement skin products. Rosenberg R. Boston Globe (October 19, 1992): 22-23.
  13. REFnews Millman, N. Michael (24 February 2009)."BC Surgeon Joins Fight Against Sub-Saharan AIDS", marketwire. Retrieved 10 April 2011.
    Quote: ...much of the trip's cost was covered by grant money from Canadian Institutes of Health Research and funding from the Shusterman Foundation...