A circumcision is a surgical procedure to remove the foreskin from the penis. Although once widely felt in the western world that the procedure would promote hygiene by preventing putrid material from accumulating in the foreskin, there is essentially no difference in disease rates between circumcised and uncircumcised men. As such, the surgery is no longer routinely performed on infant males as it was in the 30-40 years following World War II in North America.
Circumcision is still a religious ritual performed in certain religions, usually shortly after birth. It is almost universal among men of the Jewish or Islamic faiths.
Female circumcision, the removal of the clitoris, has no medical purpose and is not sanctioned for any reason in the western world. It is practiced in pockets of the developing world in the belief it will promote chastity by preventing women from enjoying sexual contact.