Pass the can opener because this particular can of worms is being opened again: circumcision.
The influential American Academy of Pediatrics has come out this week to state that the benefits of circumcision out-weigh the risks.
This is set to be big news in parenting and medical circles. Huge.
After falling dramatically in popularity over the past decade or two for reasons other than religious ones, this could very likely see a turnaround in the number of baby boys being circumcised.
Because this research is not about aesthetics – it’s about health benefits, which seem to be significant for both the boys themselves and their future sexual partners.
Some of the benefits for male circumcision that are said to outweigh possible complications: that hygiene is easier to maintain in circumcised men, that there’s a lower prevalence for sexually transmitted diseases, human papillomavirus and penile cancer, and that there are ‘no adverse effects’ on sexual function.
This from the Brisbane Times:
The surgical removal of the foreskin, now not routinely performed in most Australian public hospitals, offers more health benefits than risks, an evaluation of 10 years of evidence by the academy has found.
In a statement released yesterday, the academy said the benefits of newborn male circumcision justify access to this procedure “for families who choose it”.
It said benefits from male circumcision included the prevention of urinary tract infections, acquisition of HIV, transmission of some sexually transmitted infections, and penile cancer.
It said the procedure “does not appear to adversely affect penile sexual function/sensitivity or sexual satisfaction”.
The new stance is a significant change from the academy’s neutral position on the issue, which was last stated in 1999. That position, while recognising the health benefits of circumcision did not deem the procedure to be a medical necessity for the well-being of the child.
You can also find the RACP’s official position on circumcision here.
So, what are your thoughts on circumcision? For or against? What experience can you add to the debate?
You can read more about the circumcision debate at our sister site iVillage here.