MGMbill.org Male Genital Mutilation
What is male genital mutilation?
genital mutilation (MGM), often referred to as 'male
circumcision', comprises all procedures involving
partial or total removal of the external male genitalia
or other injury to the male genital organs whether for
cultural, religious or other non-therapeutic reasons.
There are different types of male genital mutilation
known to be practiced today. They include:
Type I - excision or injury of part or all of the
skin and specialized mucosal tissues of the penis
including the prepuce and frenulum (circumcision, dorsal
slit without closure).
Type II - excision or injury to the glans
(glandectomy) and/or penis shaft, (penectomy) along with
Type I MGM. Any procedure that interferes with
reproductive or sexual function in the adult male.
Type III - excision or destruction of the testes
(castration, orchidectomy) with or without Type II MGM.
Type IV - unclassified: includes pricking, piercing
or incision of the prepuce, glans, scrotum or other
genital tissue; cutting and suturing of the prepuce over
the glans (infibulation); slitting open the urethra
along the ventral surface of the penis (subincision);
slitting open the foreskin along its dorsal surface
(superincision); severing the frenulum; stripping the
skin from the shaft of the penis; introducing corrosive
or scalding substances onto the genital area; any other
procedure which falls under the definition of MGM given
most common type of male genital mutilation is excision
of the foreskin (circumcision), accounting for the vast
majority of all cases; the most extreme form is excision or
destruction of the testes (castration), which
constitutes a small percentage of all procedures.
Health consequences of MGM
immediate and long-term health consequences of male
genital mutilation vary according to the type and
severity of the procedure performed.
Immediate complications include severe pain, shock,
hemorrhage, infection, excessive skin loss, skin
bridges, glans deformation, bowing, meatal stenosis,
loss of penis, and injury to adjacent tissue. Hemorrhage
and infection can cause death. More recently, concern
has arisen about possible transmission of the human
immunodeficiency virus (HIV) due to the use of one
instrument in multiple operations. Some researchers are
also promoting MGM as a tool to combat AIDS by touting
studies that show a link between medicalized
circumcision and reduced rates of HIV transmission,
which is likely to increase the number of forced
circumcisions and related complications.
Long-term consequences include scar formation,
keratinization, sexual dysfunction, loss of sexual
sensitivity, and increased friction and pain during
Psychosexual and psychological health: Genital
mutilation may leave a lasting mark on the life and mind
of the man who has undergone it. In the longer term, men
may suffer feelings of anger, incompleteness, anxiety,
and lifelong psychological trauma.
Who performs MGM, at what age and for what reasons?
cultures where it is an accepted norm, male genital
mutilation is practiced by followers of all religious
beliefs as well as animists and non believers. MGM is
usually performed either by a traditional practitioner,
with crude instruments and without anesthetic, or in a
health care facility by qualified health personnel.
is opposed to medicalization of all the types of male
age at which male genital mutilation is performed varies
from area to area. It is performed on infants a few days
old, male children and adolescents and, occasionally, on
reasons given by families for having MGM performed
psychosexual reasons: elimination of the sensitive
tissue of the foreskin and the stimulation that it
provides, depriving the glans of its protective
environment to reduce sexual pleasure;
sociological reasons: identification with the cultural
heritage, initiation of boys into manhood, social
integration and the maintenance of social cohesion;
hygiene and aesthetic reasons: the foreskin
dirty and unsightly and is to be removed to promote
hygiene and provide aesthetic appeal;
myths: babies donít feel pain, a foreskin is hard to
keep clean, circumcision protects against certain diseases, male
circumcision is less barbaric than female circumcision;
religious reasons: Most Muslim and Jewish communities
practice MGM in the belief that it is demanded by the
Islamic and Judaic faiths. The practice, however,
predates both religions.
Prevalence and distribution of MGM
of the boys and men who have undergone genital
mutilation live in 28 African countries, the Middle
East, the USA, and parts of Asia. They are also found in
Europe, Australia, and Canada.
Today, the number of boys and men who have undergone male genital mutilation is estimated at 650
million. It is estimated that each year, a further 13
million boys are at risk of undergoing MGM.
Current MGMbill.org activities related to MGM
MGMbill.org urges that WHO/UNICEF/UNFPA issue a policy statement on MGM and a
Regional Plan to Accelerate the Elimination of MGM to promote policy development and action
at the global, regional, and national level. Several
countries where MGM is a traditional practice should be encouraged to develop national plans of action
based on the MGM prevention strategy proposed by WHO.
MGMbill.org urges WHO to make MGM a
major objective to generate
knowledge and promote the elimination of MGM. Research
protocols on MGM should be developed with a network of
collaborating research institutions as well as
biomedical and social science researchers with linkages
to appropriate communities. MGMbill.org urges WHO to
approaches for the prevention of MGM in countries and to
organize training for community workers to strengthen
their effectiveness in promoting prevention of MGM at
the grassroots level.
MGMbill.org urges WHO
to develop training materials for integrating the
prevention of MGM into nursing, midwifery and medical
curricula as well as for in-service training of health
workers. Evidence based training workshops, to raise the
awareness of health workers and to solicit their active
involvement as advocates against MGM, should also be
developed for nurses and midwives in the African and
Eastern Mediterranean region.
For more information contact:
MGM types are based on the
ICGI HGM classifications.
This fact sheet is
published by MGMbill.org. To encourage the
UN to implement the above policies, please contact WHO