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Male Circumcision: Benefits Outweigh The Risks, Says AAP [Study]

Whether or not to circumcise a newborn baby boy has been a subject of heated debate in recent years. Is it simply an out-dated practice with zero health benefit, or is there still a medical purpose to potentially putting your baby boy through so much pain?

According to the NY Sun, circumcision is becoming less common in the US thanks largely to immigration patterns in the nation. Still, circumcision ranks as one of the most common procedures in the world, and, in the US, it is most commonly performed on newborns. In 2007, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) convened to evaluate the evidence regarding male circumcision and settle the score once and for all. Circumcision: Is it worth it?

The Task Force included both AAP representatives from specialty areas and members of the AAP Board of Directors, as well as others representing the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They convened to update the AAP’s recommendations on circumcision from 1999.

After a critical review of peer-reviewed literature using the American Heart Association’s template for evidence evaluation, the Task Force concluded that the health benefits from newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks and that the health benefits associated with the procedure justify access to it for families who choose it. Specifically, male circumcision aids in the prevention of urinary tract infections, the acquisition of HIV, transmission of some sexually transmitted infections, and penile cancer. Male circumcision also does not seem to affect sexual function in a negative way. Significant acute complications are rare.

“Parents are entitled to factually correct, nonbiased information about circumcision and should receive this information from clinicians before conception or early in pregnancy, which is when parents typically make circumcision decisions,” said the researchers. “Parents should determine what is in the best interest of their child. Physicians who counsel families about this decision should provide assistance by explaining the potential benefits and risks and ensuring that parents understand that circumcision is an elective procedure.”

The Task Force advised that educational materials relating to circumcision be revised and updated, but, for the most part, it turns out that circumcision rolls back to simply being a matter of choice as it doesn’t yield any negative effects if performed responsibly and correctly.

Do you agree with the AAP’s updated recommendation on circumcision?