Circumcision is an elective procedure and is not required by law or by hospital policy. Scientific studies show some medical benefits of circumcision. However, these benefits are not sufficient for the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to recommend that all infant boys be circumcised. For some parents, circumcision is a religious, cultural or social ritual. It can also be a matter of family tradition, personal hygiene or preventive health care. For others, however, the procedure seems unnecessary or disfiguring.
Because circumcision is not essential to a child's health, parents should choose what is best for their child by looking at the benefits and risks. Medically speaking, circumcised infants are less likely to develop urinary tract infections (UTIs), especially in the first year of life. Experts in the medical community suggest that circumcision reduces the risk of sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS and the virus that can cause cervical cancer. Circumcised men may also be at lower risk for penile cancer, although the disease is rare in both circumcised and uncircumcised males.
Less risk of:
To learn more about the circumcision procedure itself, read more about What to Expect in the next section.
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