Researchers connected to the Circumcision Foundation of Australia have presented what they claim is the world’s first evidence-based policy for male circumcision saying the benefits vastly outweigh the complications, which they say occur in less than one per cent of cases. Lead author Professor Brian Morris, from the University of Sydney, claimed the evidence was now so clear it was time to act.
“The evidence in favour of infant circumcision is now so strong that advocating this simple, inexpensive procedure for baby boys is about as effective and safe as childhood vaccination,” he said. “In contrast to the comments of opponents, the scientific evidence shows no adverse effects on sexual function, sensitivity, satisfaction or sensation, if anything the opposite. Many common childhood conditions, including kidney damage, will become very rare if baby boys are circumcised in the first weeks of life.”
Before we jump into the tug-of-war that is the circumcision debate, let’s be clear that Professor Brian Morris is an advocate for circumcision. But the policy paper is based on studies and research from around the world that he didn’t personally conduct. So even if you doubt Prof Morris, the data still exists and has been used to navigate a difficult health concern around the world.
And it’s not an easy one for many parents. Male circumcision can be both a cultural norm, a religious tradition or something parents choose because, well, they had to choose something and it seemed like a good idea at the time. But there’s always been a bit of debate about that one. Some people aren’t cut and choose to do it as an adult. Guy Ritchie was reportedly circumcised to fall in line with then wife Madonna’s religious beliefs.
Wonder how he feels about that now…
Shall we see what the research shows?
Infant male circumcision: an evidence-based policy statement examined evidence from around the world to see whether male circumcision was all that necessary. Here’s what it found.
Urinary tract infections
More uncircumcised boys got urinary tract infections than circumcised boys, especially as babies in the first six months of life when UTIs are most common. The prevalence was 1-4% in those without the snip compared to less than 0.2% in those who had been cut.
The study claims hygiene is easier to maintain in circumcised boys who don’t have the added burden of foreskin to navigate when cleaning.
The paper cites other studies which show male circumcision affords a 60 per cent protection against HIV. Other factors over time increase that protection to around 75 per cent, an effect the authors say makes it nearly as effective as the influenza vaccine. The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in the United States has touted male circumcision as a cost-saver for the money the country spends on treating HIV.