Pros and Cons of Circumcision

Circumcision, the surgical removal of the foreskin of the penis, can be a difficult decision for new parents. Arguments for and against circumcision can be divisive, leaving parents confused about what to do. In the end, the best way to make the right decision for your baby is to be informed and educated on what happens. Talk to your pediatrician, read about the pros and cons, and talk to other parents.

The American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) issued a policy regarding circumcision, although it does not state whether parents should or should not circumcise their newborn sons. What it does state are the pros and cons:

Pros

  • A circumcised baby boy is 10 times less likely to develop a urinary tract infection in his first year than an uncircumcised infant boy.
  • Although cancer in the penis is very rare, men who were circumcised have an even lower risk.
  • Circumcised sexually-active men have a slightly lower risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
  • Foreskin infections are eliminated.
  • Phimosis, a condition that prevents foreskin retraction in uncircumcised males, is eliminated.
  • Genital hygiene is easier.

Cons

  • Complications are rare and usually minor but include bleeding, infection, cutting the foreskin too short or too long, and improper healing.
  • Some people say that without the foreskin, the tip of the penis might become irritated and cause the opening of the penis to become too small, leading to urination problems that might require surgery.
  • Some say circumcision makes the tip of the penis less sensitive, causing a decrease in sexual pleasure.
  • Some say that boys can be taught proper hygiene that can lower their chances of getting infections, cancer of the penis and STIs.

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