(11/16/12) - Once you have a baby boy, a circumcision is one of the first
decisions you will have to make. For the first time, the American Academy of
Pediatrics has adjusted its stance on the commonly performed procedure, saying
it may have health benefits, but that they are not recommending it for all baby
So, where does this leave parents who have to make that decision?
When Maria Moser gave birth to her first baby boy, she had a decision to make. "Most people don't think of circumcision until they have their own child. They just don't think of it."
After hours of research and discussion, Maria and her husband decided not to circumcise Jude or his little brother Blaize. "We're talking about putting them through a very painful procedure with little to no anesthesia for no reason other than cosmetics, really."
Maria says her sons should make the decision themselves.
In the 1980s, almost 80 percent of baby boys had their foreskin removed. Today, it's less than 55 percent. But Dr. Aaron Tobian, of Johns Hopkins, found this decline has increased health care costs by $2 billion.
He says studies show circumcision decreases risk for HIV, herpes, HPV, urinary tract infections and penile cancer. "The medical benefits of male circumcision are abundantly clear."
Critics argue much of the research on circumcision and STD's was conducted in Africa, among adult males.
Two other studies have also found circumcision might actually increase the risk for HIV. And, there are the risks, like the serious complications that occur in about one in every 500 procedures.
"Parents should discuss with their physicians both the risks and benefits of male circumcision and then make their own choice based on the best interest of their child," Tobian says.
Maria is happy with her decision, and believes her boys will be, too.
Last year, a circumcision ban made it on the ballot in San Francisco, but a judge ruled against including the measure.
In the United States, it is illegal to circumcise baby girls.
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