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New Evidence Points to Greater Benefits of Infant Circumcision, But Final Say is Still Up to Parents, Says AAP
29/08/12 8:56
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New Evidence Points to
Greater Benefits of Infant
Circumcision, But Final Say is
Still Up to Parents, Says AAP
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8/27/2012
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For Release: August 27, 2012
New scientific evidence shows the health benefits of newborn male circumcision outweigh
the risks of the procedure, but the benefits are not great enough to recommend routine
circumcision for all newborn boys, according to an updated policy statement published by
the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The revised policy, like the previous one from
the AAP, says the decision whether or not to circumcise should be left to the parents in
consultation with their child’s doctor.
The policy statement and accompanying technical report from the AAP will be published
in the September 2012 issue of Pediatrics (published online Monday, Aug. 27). The
documents update the previous policy that the AAP published in 1999 and reaffirmed in
2005.
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Since the last policy was published, scientific research shows clearer health benefits to
the procedure than had previously been demonstrated. According to a systematic and
critical review of the scientific literature, the health benefits of circumcision include lower
risks of acquiring HIV, genital herpes, human papilloma virus and syphilis. Circumcision
also lowers the risk of penile cancer over a lifetime; reduces the risk of cervical cancer in
sexual partners, and lowers the risk of urinary tract infections in the first year of life.
The AAP believes the health benefits are great enough that infant male circumcision
should be covered by insurance, which would increase access to the procedure for
families who choose it.
“Ultimately, this is a decision that parents will have to make,” said Susan Blank, MD,
FAAP, chair of the task force that authored the AAP policy statement and technical report.
“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.”
AAP Department of Federal Affairs
Phone: 202-347-8600
Email: [email protected]
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The medical benefits alone may not outweigh other considerations for individual families.
The medical data show that the procedure is safest and offers the most health benefits if
performed during the newborn period. The AAP policy recommends infant circumcision
should be performed by trained and competent providers, using sterile techniques and
effective pain management.
The policy has been endorsed by the American College of Obstetricians and
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New Evidence Points to Greater Benefits of Infant Circumcision, But Final Say is Still Up to Parents, Says AAP
29/08/12 8:56
Gynecologists (the College). “This information will be helpful for obstetricians who are
often the medical providers who counsel parents about circumcision,” said Sabrina
Craigo, MD, the College’s liaison to the AAP task force on circumcision. “We support the
idea that parents choosing circumcision should have access to the procedure.”
Parents who are considering newborn circumcision should speak with their child’s doctor
about the benefits and risks of the procedure, and discuss who will perform the
circumcision. “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,”
said Dr. Blank.
###
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care
pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated
to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For
more information, visit www.aap.org.
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