Circumcision probably won’t impact your son’s health, research shows, but a range of cultural and social factors deserve your consideration.
This guide was originally published on July 12, 2019 in NYT Parenting.
- Circumcision has been found to reduce the risk of certain health conditions, such as urinary tract infections and some sexually transmitted diseases, but not enough for the American Academy of Pediatrics to recommend the procedure.
- Infant circumcision is generally safe, with a complication rate of about 1.5 percent.
- Overall, circumcision does not have a significant impact on the health of babies born in the United States, so religious, social and cultural factors play an important role in parents’ decisions.
- Circumcisions should be done by a trained practitioner, ideally before 6 weeks of age. Protect and monitor the circumcision site until it has fully healed.
- No special hygiene is required for an uncircumcised infant; as the boy grows, he will learn to gently retract the foreskin when peeing or bathing.
Should you circumcise your newborn son? For some parents, the answer is clear from the moment they know they’re having a boy. For others, the decision is more fraught, and may be anxiously debated clear on into the delivery room and beyond.
Male infant circumcision, or the removal of the foreskin from a baby boy’s penis, is far more common in the United States than it is in most industrialized countries, but rates have declined since the 1970s, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A 2013 C.D.C. report that analyzed decades of hospital data found that the national rate of newborn circumcision dropped from about 65 percent to about 58 percent between 1979 and 2010.
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