Are There Benefits to Routine Infant Circumcision?

Circumcision rates in the U.S. are falling as more parents find that the risks outweigh any potential benefits. A closer look at the purported benefits of circumcision. Here are the most commonly given reasons for circumcising baby boys.

Hygiene

According to many sources, it’s easier to keep clean. Really? The vulva would be easier to keep clean without the labia but we don’t amputate that. Well, some cultures do and that is one of the reasons they give. Why do we cringe in horror at the thought of doing that to our daughters but not our sons?  Not to mention that the foreskin is a self cleaning organ and circumcision actually removes this function from the penis. http://www.circumstitions.com/Care.html

Urinary Tract Infections

Circumcision lowers the rates of urinary tract infections. Okay. But urinary tract infections are easily treated with antibiotics. Removing the lungs would prevent respiratory infections but that doesn’t seem like a good idea.

HIV

Circumcision is often touted as a way to decrease the risk of HIV. However, even those reports still caution that circumcision by itself isn’t enough and that there is still a need for a condom. So why not just use a condom and skip the circumcision?

Phimosis

Circumcision is sometimes necessary for boys or men who have Phimosis, so the logic is to preemptively circumcise. This falls a little flat when we look at the facts. It is difficult to find actual rates, there is very little research out there on Phimosis. The rate seems to be from 1 to 10 percent, depending on who you ask.

http://voices.yahoo.com/uncircumsized-penile-adhesion-information-advice-10989162.html

http://www.male-initiation.net/statistics.html.

It should be noted that the rates fall with age, as the prepuce separates on its own, the phimosis resolving  itself.  Only 1 percent of men still have it at age 17. Of that one percent, most responds to conservative treatment (not circumcision). http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/442617-overview.

It’s important to remember that the prepuce is not supposed to retract in infants. Being fused is normal at birth, it gradually loosens on its own by about age 13.

Penile Cancer Risk Decreased

Penile cancer is rare in the first place. While circumcision may decrease the risk, is it really worth the amputation of an organ to slightly decrease an already low risk? We would not consider that logical for any other organ. Remove the cervix to prevent cervical cancer? Remove the stomach to prevent stomach cancer?

So He’ll Look the Same

The other reason frequently give is the old locker room/look like dad argument. Seriously? With the risks associated with it and the minimal benefits to be had, this is the lamest and flimsiest excuse to date.

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