My Baby Boy’s Circumcision

The way your doctor talks to you about your ultimate decision about your baby boy circumcision could change based on a new policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The academy points to stronger evidence of health benefits that outweigh the risks of the procedure in an updated circumcision policy statement (Pediatrics 2012 Aug. 27;130:585-86). The circumcision of your baby boy may prevent urinary tract infections, cancer of the penis and transmission of some sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.

The final decision lies with parents.
However, the evidence is now strong enough to justify access to circumcision and third-party insurance payment for all families who choose the procedure, the American Academy of Pediatrics stated.

“What we suggest is that, having reviewed the literature, especially incorporating the new data on HIV acquisition, we feel that circumcision does have a lot of benefit and some very modest risk,” Dr. Andrew Freedman, a member of the AAP Task Force on Circumcision, said in an interview. “Overall, the benefits are probably greater than the risks, or at least great enough that for a family that wishes to have a circumcision, we feel they should be allowed to have a circumcision.”

Dr. Freedman, who is vice chair of pediatric surgical services and director of pediatric urology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles,states however that “the benefits are not so great that we are advocating a universal recommendation. We’re not suggesting everyone should have a circumcision.”

The task force recognized that the medical considerations are just one part of the decision making process, Dr. Freedman said. “For families, this cuts across other paradigms: the ethnic, the religious, and the aesthetic.”

Several medical journal review show the health benefits of circumcision include lowering the risk of urinary tract infections in the first 2 years of life, lower risk of acquiring HIV,genital herpes and human papillomavirus virus; and to a lesser extent, the evidence also suggests a protective effect against syphilis.

The task force also considered evidence that circumcision can lower the risk of cancer of the penis over a lifetime and the risk of cervical cancer in sexual partners.

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