Circumcision is not medically necessary and is becoming less common with many U.S. parents. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), for many years now, does not condone circumcision in newborns and children. Other medical organizations agree with AAP’s standing on circumcision, such as the American Medical Association and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. After researchers have analyzed the benefits, risks and costs of having the procedure done, the data showed it was not medically beneficial to do such a surgery. In most cases, health insurance does not cover circumcision, due to the surgery not having any major health benefits.
Male circumcision is a surgery that removes the foreskin from the top of the penis. This foreskin normally protects the delicate rounded tip of the penis, provides lubrication and many nerves that provide sensation. On average, 60 out of 100 boys are circumcised, while 40 out of 100 are not. Worldwide, circumcision is a lot less common and this trend seems to be growing within the U.S. over the years.
Most people nowadays do this procedure because it is part of a religious belief, or due to family traditions. Doctors say it is wise to look over pros and cons alongside these traditions and beliefs in order to decide if it is right to have a child go through this surgery. It really is a huge decision, and a permanent one, for a parent to decide whether to keep their son natural or to circumcise.
Circumcisions are usually done by pediatricians, obstetricians, family medical doctors, urologists and surgeons. For religious purposes, some circumcisions are done by trained individuals as well. Some of the risks that may occur during the procedure are bleeding, the opening of the urethra could be blocked (meatal stenosis), infection and irritation of the exposed penis, severe bleeding that calls for stitches, scarring and damage to the urethra.
Then there are some rare complications that occur during circumcisions that can result in penile mutilation. A Pittsburgh Rabbi is being sued for a botched circumcision surgery. The Rabbi severed the penis off of the baby and the child ended up having an 8 hour emergency microsurgery with blood transfusions. The boy’s penis was successfully reattached, but he had to stay hospitalized for two months. About 1 in 500 babies end up dealing with such severe complications according to AAP.
Due to fewer Americans circumcising their children, questions arise as to whether Jews and other people that use the procedure will continue on with certain religious or family traditions. The national circumcision rate started to go down about 10 percent in 1979, with the west having the greatest drop in the procedure. Circumcisions were the normal thing to do in the Midwest and Northeast, but it seems many people choose not to follow religious reasons to partake in this surgery. With more statistical information showing that it isn’t medically necessary, parents sit and wonder whether they should circumcise their kids or not.
Some parents may have concerns with the surgery causing their boy to look different. All it takes is one generation continually rejecting the surgery and it is very possible a large percentage of children may not be circumcised down the road. Some countries outright ban the surgery; as circumcision is not medically necessary.
By Tina Elliott