Benefits of Infant Circumcision

Chair of Elijah
Creative Commons License photo credit: BecomingJewish.Org

Unless we have religious reasons for circumcision, most of us don’t really think about it until the doctor asks us whether we want our baby son circumcised. The practice has gone in, out and back in favor with the medical community. Currently, the American Pediatric Association doesn’t make an official recommendation one way or the other.

Circumcision involves the cutting away of the foreskin of a male’s penis. The practice is thousands of years old. It has been practiced for all of recorded history, at least in the Middle East.

So, why would we want to have our sons circumcised? Although the practice started as a result of religion and/or superstition (depending on your take on such things), studies have shown that there are actually a number of health benefits to circumcision. Some of them are fairly obvious, but a few may surprise you. Benefits include:

  • Easier cleaning of the penis
  • Reduced incidents of kidney damage
  • Lower risk of contracting or sharing HIV and other STDs
  • Fewer urinary tract infections
  • Reduced risk of penile and prostate cancers

Most of us don’t want to think about the possibility of HIV or sexually transmitted diseases when we think about our babies. However, the fact remains that the vast majority of baby boys will become sexually active at some point in their lives. The World Health Organization has recognized the benefits of circumcision in preventing the spread of HIV and STDs. They have gone as far as recommending adult male circumcision in African countries where AIDS has reached epidemic proportions.

While it is not completely without risks, infant circumcision is statistically safer than most vaccinations. While the American Pediatricians’ Association doesn’t make an official recommendation, the American Urological Association does recommend that infant circumcision ought to be presented as an option because of the health benefits to the child.

Infant circumcision is a bit of a hotbed topic right now, with vocal proponents and opposition. What do you think? Do the potential benefits of circumcision justify the risk of having minor surgery performed on your infant son? If you have a boy, will you have him circumcised? Why or why not?

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