The practice of newborn circumcision is very common. It has been estimated that 60- 75 percent of all males in the United States are circumcised at birth. However, in the 2009 one federal estimate stated that the circumcision rate declined to 54.5 percent from 62.7 percent in 1999.
While the infant circumcision rate may be showing a declining trend in recent years, historically, the medical authorities have taken neither a strong position for or against circumcision.
In 1975, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) stated: “there is no absolute medical indication for routine circumcision of the newborn”. They have restated that position again and again throughout the years, most recently in 2005.
However, this month the AAP announced that it has shifted its stance on infant male circumcision. The AAP now claims that the health benefits of circumcision outweigh the risks. This new position comes after recent research has been revealed showing that circumcision might protect heterosexual males against H.I.V.
Although the AAP has changed its stance they still do not state that routine circumcision for all baby boys is recommended. They do however continue to recommend that the decision should remain a family matter.
Here are some of the pros and cons of circumcision according toMedicineNet.com:
Circumcision: Medical Pros and Cons At A Glance
- Inability to retract the foreskin fully at birth is not a medical reason for a circumcision.
- Circumcision prevents phimosis (the inability to retract the foreskin at an age when it should normally be retractable), paraphimosis (the painful inability to return the foreskin to its original location), and balanoposthitis (inflammation of the glans and foreskin).
- Circumcision increases the chance of meatitis (inflammation of the opening of the penis).
- Circumcision may result in a decreased incidence of urinary tract infections.
- Circumcision may result in a lower incidence of sexually-transmitted diseases and may reduce HIV transmission.
- Circumcision may lower the risk for cancer of the cervix in sexual partners.
- Circumcision may decrease the risk for cancer of the penis.
- There is no absolute medical indication for routine circumcision of the newborn.