Circumcision: Weighing The Question

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In the recent years past, most newborn American baby boys were routinely circumcised, however that number has fallen in recent years. In the Sixties, 83 percent of children were circumcised, but a 2010 study revealed only 77 percent were now being circumcised. This number can vary depending on the geographical region, ethnicity, and religious affiliation. As with any impassioned matter, there are pros and cons on both sides of the matter, but the choice is ultimately left to the parents, along with the input of their chosen physicians, to decide what is best for their situation. Here is a brief look at both the advantages and disadvantages as perceived by proponents and opponents:


Infant Circumcision Can Reduce Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Recent studies have shown that most sexually transmitted diseases are dramatically lower in men who have been circumcised. This includes diseases such as herpes and HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) the virus that causes AIDS. However, the rate of syphilis was unchanged.

Infant Circumcision Can Reduce Certain Types Of Cancers

The study also showed there was less incidence of Human papillomavirus (HPV), which is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). HPV is frequently seen in conjunction with herpes, and it is known to cause genital warts, which puts both men and women at higher risk of anal cancer, as well as cervical cancer in women and penile cancer in men.


Infant Circumcision Can Cause Less Sexual Enjoyment

While this is the claim by critics, sexual satisfaction and conversely dissatisfaction is a difficult thing to gauge. The theory is that by removing the foreskin, additional nerve endings are also being removed, thus potentially lowering sensation. A very small study also alluded to sex with a man who has been circumcised adversely affecting a woman's sexual enjoyment as well.

Infant Circumcision Does Not "Cure" Anything

Many of those who are opposed to circumcision simply reject its necessity. They don't believe the male human body was born with a part of his body that needs to be removed in order to function properly or fix anything. Therefore, it is a completely unnecessary, even barbaric, procedure.

At the end of the day, whether or not you circumcise your child is up to you, but it's much easier to make the choice when you can feel confident you are informed. Speak with both your obstetrician and the pediatrician group you have chosen for your unborn child before the birth. Sometimes the duties of circumcision overlap among physicians or vary from hospital to hospital, so it's best to make sure your wishes are decided and recorded well before the birth.