Amazon has removed a circumcision training kit from sale on its website following concern that it encouraged DIY surgery.
The “infant circumcision training kit” offered a model of a male child’s genitals on which circumcision could be attempted with a selection of scalpels.
It was listed for sale between £365 and £456, with options for a dark or light skinned dummy, by a third-party group called ESP.
Male circumcision is the practice of removing part of the foreskin from the penis and is carried out for either religious or medical purposes, often at a young age.
The online retail giant removed the product after the National Secular Society (NSS) wrote to UK manager Douglas Gurr suggesting it was against Amazon’s supply chain standards policy.
Dr Antony Lempert, chairman of the NSS’s secular medical forum, wrote: “We fear that the sale of this product may encourage unqualified practitioners to carry out unnecessary surgery on infants in non-clinical conditions, resulting in serious harm.”
A spokesperson for Milah UK, the body set up by the Jewish community in the UK to promote and protect the right of the Jewish community to carry out religious male circumcision, said: “In the UK the Jewish community has systems of oversight, training and regulation which are under continual monitoring and scrutiny.
“The Jewish public is aware of the necessity for regulated mohelim and the appropriate regulating bodies ensure the highest of standards.”
While sales have been halted on Amazon’s UK site, it remains available in the US.
It is understood it cannot be shipped to the UK.
Debate has long raged around whether circumcision should be banned for anything other than medically necessary reasons.
The procedure is commonly carried out in faiths such as Judaism, in which it is believed to represent a covenant with God.
Dr Lempert said in his letter: “Non-therapeutic circumcision is unethical and unnecessary and is putting infant boys at risk of death and serious injury.
“This practice could be encouraged by the morally negligent sale of infant circumcision training kits to the public.”
The British Medical Association (BMA) writes in its guidance for doctors that it has “no policy” on the issue of non-therapeutic, or ritual, circumcision.
It recognises there is “clear risk of harm if the procedure is done inexpertly”, but says: “As a general rule, however, the BMA believes that parents should be entitled to make choices about how best to promote their children’s interests, and it is for society to decide what limits should be imposed on parental choices.”