Although the health benefits of circumcising newborn males outweigh the risks to the procedure, it’s still a decision that parents should make with their baby’s doctor, a leading group of pediatricians recommends.
In an updated policy statement, the American Academy of Pediatrics acknowledges that circumcision lowers the risk of becoming infected with HIV, genital herpes, human papilloma virus and syphilis. Research cited in the policy statement shows that it also lowers the risk of penile cancer and reduces the risk of cervical cancer in sexual partners. In fact, the AAP believes insurance should cover the procedure.
However, “the benefits are not great enough to recommend routine circumcision for all newborn boys,” a news release from the AAP states.
“Ultimately, this is a decision that parents will have to make,” said Dr. Susan Blank, chair of the task force that wrote the policy statement. “Parents are entitled to medically accurate and non-biased information about circumcision, and they should weigh this medical information in the context of their own religious, ethical and cultural beliefs.”
Parents who choose to circumcise their newborn sons should make sure the procedure is “performed by trained and competent providers, using sterile techniques and effective pain management,” the release states.
It’s also best for parents to consult their child’s doctor, the AAP recommends.
“It’s a good idea to have this conversation during pregnancy, and to learn whether your insurance will cover the procedure, so you have time to make the decision,” Blank said.
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