The positions of the world's major medical organizations range from considering elective circumcision of babies and children as having no benefit and significant risks to having a modest health benefit that outweighs small risks. No major medical organization recommends either universal circumcision for all males (aside from the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO) for areas with high rates of HIV), or banning the procedure. Ethical and legal questions regarding informed consent and human rights have been raised over the circumcision of babies and children for non medical reasons, and for that reason the procedure is controversial.
An estimated one-third of males worldwide are circumcised. The procedure is most common in the Muslim world and Israel (where it is near-universal for religious reasons), the United States, and parts of Southeast Asia and Africa. It is relatively rare in Europe, Latin America, parts of Southern Africa, and most of Asia. The origin of circumcision is not known with certainty; the oldest documented evidence for it comes from ancient Egypt. Various theories have been proposed as to its origin, including as a religious sacrifice and as a rite of passage marking a boy's entrance into adulthood. It is part of religious law in Judaism and is an established practice in Islam, Coptic Christianity, and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. The word circumcision is from Latin circumcidere, meaning "to cut around"