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American Academy of Pediatrics on Circumcision

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Uploaded on Feb 2, 2009

After reviewing 40 years worth of medical studies, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Task Force on Circumcision concluded that the "potential medical benefits of newborn male circumcision... are not sufficient to recommend routine neonatal circumcision." While this 1999 policy may be revised soon, it is still the current official recommendation for parents and doctors. This report is also the first time the AAP has acknowledged(after decades of doctors mindlessly repeating the belief that babies don't feel significant pain) that circumcision without anesthesia is traumatic and if circumcision is to be done, anesthesia should be used. Here are some highlights from the report:

Role of Hygiene

"there is little evidence to affirm the association between circumcision status and optimum penile hygiene."

STDs including HIV

"behavioral factors appear to be far more important than circumcision status."

Penile Cancer

"in a developed country such as the United States, penile cancer is a rare disease and the risk of penile cancer developing in an uncircumcised man, although increased compared with a circumcised man, is low."

Urinary Tract Infections

"breastfeeding was shown to have a threefold protective effect on the incidence of UTI in a sample of uncircumcised infants. However, breastfeeding status has not been evaluated systematically in studies assessing UTI and circumcision status." meaning that the earlier UTIs studies results were confounded. Even if their numbers were accurate, in order to prevent one UTI during the first year of life by circumcising a baby boy, approximately 195 babies who will not get a UTI would need to be circumcised. Also infant girls commonly develop UTIs(in some studies at even higher rates than infant boys) and the standard treatment for them is antibiotics which works just as well for infant boys with UTIs. The AAP concludes this section noting that "the absolute risk of developing a UTI in an uncircumcised male infant is low (at most, ~1%)".

Ethics

Here they say while even though cutting off part of your baby's genitalia "is not essential to the child's current well-being" they are perfectly fine with parents and doctors using cultural tradition as justification. The report does not mention whether they also think cultural tradition is an acceptable reason to anesthesize infant girls and then cut off their clitoral hoods(biologically analogous to foreskin) as is the case here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWvi47...
(the video is not particularly graphic as it was made by a mother who had her own clitoral hood cut off when she was a baby and she wants to continue the tradition)

If you want, you can read the full AAP policy here: http://www.cirp.org/library/statement...

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