​1 Big Reason to Circumcise Your Baby

For any parent-to-be who is on the fence about circumcision, health officials released a new report this week that may help sway you in the decision-making process. Although the procedure, which involves removing the foreskin on the tip of the penis and is typically performed within 24 hours after a baby boy is born, is sometimes made because of cultural or religious reasons, new evidence supports the notion that the health benefits of circumcision outweigh the risks.

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This is big news because it marks the first time actual federal guidelines have been put in place about circumcision -- and, interestingly, it also comes at a time when the number of parents opting to circumcise their baby boys is at a new low. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the circumcision rate was just 58 percent in 2010 -- which is amazing when you consider it was more than 80 percent in the 1950s and '60s.

Scientific evidence points to the fact that germs can more easily grow beneath the foreskin and that the procedure can significantly reduce a male's chances of contracting sexually transmitted diseases, penile cancer, and urinary tract infections, according to officials from the CDC. The study reportedly reveals that circumcision reduces a man's chance of contracting HIV from an infected female partner by 50 to 60 percent and lowers the risk of getting genital herpes and HPV by 30 percent or more.

The CDC has been at work on these guidelines for the last seven years and will listen to public comment for the next 45 days before finalizing them next year.

Here's what that means: we can expect quite the backlash from anti-circumcision advocacy groups who feel circumcision is morally wrong and causes an infant needless pain, bleeding, and risk of infection. The director of the Circumcision Resource Center has already critiqued the new study, saying the guidelines are "part of a long historical American cultural and medical bias to attempt to defend this traumatic genital surgery."

More from The Stir: To Circumcise or Not to Circumcise? What You Need to Know

The new guidelines could do more than just convince parents to have their sons circumcised. They could also be used to urge medical insurers to cover the cost for the procedure -- which is between $150 and $200. Currently, Medicaid groups in 18 states have stopped paying for circumcisions, according to the CDC.

As for the worry that we are putting our newborns through unnecessary torture and risk, the guidelines found that infants have a 0.5 percent chance of complications from the procedure -- a number that rises to 9 percent in children ages 1 to 9. 

How do these new guidelines affect your feelings about circumcision?

 

Image © iStock.com/JurgaR

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