The Circumcision Decision
Those of the Jewish and Muslim faith perform circumcision for religious reasons. Non-religious circumcision only became popular after 1920 --and then mainly in English-speaking countries. Currently, 80% of infants in the United States are being circumcised. By contrast, in the rest of the world, over 80% of males are not circumcised.
There are a few medical advantages of circumcision. First, it protects against urinary tract infections during the first year of life. Second, circumcision reduces the risk of getting HIV infections. Third, it reduces the risk of carrying HPV, the virus that causes cervical cancer in women and penile cancer in men.
The only disadvantage of circumcision is that surgical complications can occur in less than 1% of the circumsized infant. These include skin infections, bleeding, and scarring.
In summary, circumcision for religious purposes certainly will continue. Circumcision for other children is optional. Since the foreskin comes as standard equipment, you can easily leave it intact. While some professionals feel that circumcision is an important way to reduce the spread of some sexually transmitted diseases, other professionals don't feel strongly about it. For the present, this is a parental decision, not a medical decision.
If you have other questions about circumcision, consult your healthcare provider.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. FAAP
Last Review: 6/1/2008
Last Revised: 6/8/2007 1:08:12 PM
Copyright 1994-2008 Barton Schmitt, M.D. Parent Advice Messages.