Dr Osama Al Harastani, specialist in urology at the Universal Hospital in Abu Dhabi. Image Credit:

Abu Dhabi: The cost of circumcisions is forcing many parents to head to their home countries for such surgeries.

The average cost for neonatal circumcision in private hospitals, excluding clinics, ranges between Dh1,000 and Dh4,000 in Abu Dhabi.

Parents complain it’s too much for this procedure, and that it is done for a few hundred rupees only in their home countries.

Gulf News investigated the matter and found that only Daman covers circumcision in the UAE, and most expatriates don’t have Daman health insurance. Munawwar Ali, an Abu Dhabi resident, said: “It’s very expensive here so I never wanted to do it here for my children. All my children had their circumcisions back home in Pakistan.”

“Generally we do it at clinics back home for a few hundred rupees,” Ali said.

M.Y. Mohammad, an Indian expatriate said: “I got it done in a clinic in Sharjah for less than Dh500.”

“I couldn’t afford higher cost at hospitals so resorted to cheaper one at a clinic," Mohammad said.

Some people get their child’s circumcision covered by insurance, depending on their familiarity with the consulting doctor who refers the baby for emergency circumcision.

M.N. Dullah, an Al Ain resident, said: “I had my son’s circumcision here in one of Al Ain’s hospitals and it was covered by the insurance. I didn’t pay a penny.”

“The doctor knew me well and he referred my child for the emergency circumcision and it was covered by insurance," the Bangladeshi expatriate said.

For normal circumcision he would have had to pay Dh3,000, which he could not afford.

Doctors caution parents

Urologists have cautioned parents to not look for cheaper circumcisions for babies, as it may be fatal if it’s not performed under high precision.

One of the minor surgeries performed generally on newborns, it  takes 10 to 20 minutes only to complete.

Dr Osama Al Harastani, specialist urologist at the Universal Hospital in Abu Dhabi, said: “The problem is not in the circumcision, but the errors happen when the baby is not investigated properly.”

In some cases if the baby has congenital anaemia or haemophilia and circumcision is done on him, it may pose dangers to the baby’s life, he said.

If the surgery is being done under local anaesthesia, the baby should be up to three months old, and after that age, we prefer general anaesthesia.

About high cost of circumcision, Burjeel Hospital said: “This amount covers the surgeon’s fee, medication and consumable usage during the procedure and recovery room charges for two hours.”

Daman told Gulf News: “All male circumcisions are covered for all Daman customers in the UAE since 2012.” Thiqa health cards for Emiratis also provide the service.

Emirati Nader Al Naqbi, who holds a Thiqa health card, said: “I have three sons and all had their circumcisions for free.”

Cost of circumcision in different hospitals in Abu Dhabi:

Burjeel: Dh2,500 to Dh4,000

Ahlia: Local anaesthesia Dh1,750 and general anaesthesia Dh3,500

Medeor: Below two years Dh1,500, and above Dh2,500

NMC: Below six months Dh1,400, and above Dh2,400

Universal: Up to one year Dh1,000, and above one year Dh1,500